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Remote Superficial Femoral Artery Endarterectomy


  • Remote superficial femoral artery endarterectomy (RSFAE) is a procedure to remove plaques inside the superficial femoral artery (SFA). The femoral artery is the main blood vessel in your thigh that carries blood and oxygen to the legs. Plaques are fat, cholesterol, or tissues that are clogged in the inner wall of the artery. When plaques build up inside the superficial femoral artery, blood flow to the legs may be decreased. RSFAE may be done to relieve problems caused by a narrowed or blocked artery. Problems that may happen include severe pain in the hip, thigh, calf, or foot, and trouble when walking. Having these problems may decrease a person's ability to do his daily activities and affect his quality of life.
    Arteries of the Legs
  • With RSFAE, the plaque that blocks the artery is removed through a small incision (cut) in the groin. The groin is the area where your abdomen (stomach) meets your upper leg. Caregivers strip, cut, and remove the plaque by using different tools inserted through the SFA. This is done using a special type of x-ray as a guide. RSFAE may be followed by other procedures, such as angioplasty and stenting. Angioplasty opens the artery using a small, high pressure balloon. Stenting uses metal or plastic stents (tubes), in the area where the blockage was removed, to keep the artery open.



  • Keep a current list of your medicines: Include the amounts, and when, how, and why you take them. Take the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists. Use vitamins, herbs, or food supplements only as directed.
  • Take your medicine as directed: Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not working as expected. Tell him about any medicine allergies, and if you want to quit taking or change your medicine.
  • Aspirin: This medicine may be given to help thin the blood to keep blood clots from forming. This medicine makes it more likely for you to bleed or bruise.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

  • You will need to return for tests to check blood flow through your artery. Ask your caregiver when you should return to have these tests done or to have your wound checked.

Bathing with stitches:

Follow your primary healthcare provider's instructions on when you can bathe. Gently wash the part of your body that has the stitches. Do not rub on the stitches to dry your skin. Pat the area gently with a towel. When the area is dry, put on a clean, new bandage as directed.


Exercise makes the heart stronger, lowers blood pressure, and helps keep you healthy. Begin to exercise slowly and do more as you get stronger. Talk with your primary healthcare provider before you start an exercise program.


  • You have a fever.
  • You have nausea (upset stomach) or vomiting (throwing up).
  • You have redness, discharge, or pain in the area where the procedure was done.
  • Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.
  • You have questions or concerns about your procedure, medicine, or care.


  • Your bandage becomes soaked with blood.
  • You have chest pain that spreads to your arms, jaw, or back, or are sweating more than usual.
  • Your incision has blood, pus, or a foul-smelling odor coming from it.
  • The foot or leg on the same side of where the procedure was done becomes cold, numb, pale, or is very painful.
  • Your shoulder, arm, or fingers feel numb, tingly, cool to touch, or look blue or pale.
  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
  • You have chest pain or trouble breathing that is getting worse over time.
  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and have trouble breathing.
  • You have new and sudden chest pain. You may have more pain when you take deep breaths or cough. You may cough up blood.
  • This is an emergency. Call 911 or 0 (operator) to get to the nearest hospital or clinic. Do not drive yourself!

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.