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Remote Superficial Femoral Artery Endarterectomy

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Mar 5, 2023.


Remote superficial femoral artery endarterectomy (RSFAE) is a procedure to remove plaque inside the superficial femoral artery. The femoral artery is the main blood vessel in your thigh that carries blood and oxygen to the legs. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, or tissues that may clog the artery. RSFAE helps improve blood flow and relieve symptoms caused by a narrowed or blocked artery.


The week before your procedure:

  • Tell your healthcare provider about all medicines you currently take. He or she will tell you if you need to stop any medicine for the procedure, and when to stop. If you take aspirin, ibuprofen, or blood thinners, do not stop taking them without first asking your healthcare provider. Your provider will tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of your procedure.
  • You will be given contrast liquid during your procedure to help healthcare providers see your blood vessels better. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid.
  • If you are a woman, tell your provider if you know or think you are pregnant.
  • You may need to have blood tests, an EKG, a chest x-ray, or other tests. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about these or other tests you may need.

The night before your procedure:

You may be told not to eat or drink anything after midnight.

The day of your procedure:

  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives healthcare providers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
  • Take only the medicines your healthcare provider told you to take.
  • An IV will be put into a vein. You may get medicine or liquid through the IV.
  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell healthcare providers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.


What will happen:

You will get anesthesia to numb the procedure area. Your healthcare provider will make an incision in your groin. Contrast liquid may be put in the artery to make the blocked area show up better in pictures. Your provider will make an incision in the artery. The plaque will be removed from the artery. Contrast liquid will again be put into the artery. Pictures will be taken to make sure the plaque was completely removed. A stent may be placed inside the artery. The incisions will be closed with stitches or staples and covered with tight pressure bandages.

After your procedure:

You will need to lie flat in bed for a time. Keep your leg straight. Do not move your leg. Healthcare providers will watch you closely for any problems. You will then be taken to a hospital room, or you may be able to go home. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. The bandages used to cover your stitches or staples will keep the area clean and dry to prevent infection. Healthcare providers may remove the bandage soon after the procedure to check the incision.


  • You have a fever.
  • You have a wound near the procedure area.
  • You have questions or concerns about your procedure.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • You have pain or discomfort in your back, neck, jaw, stomach, or arm.
  • You have discomfort in your chest that feels like squeezing, pressure, fullness, or pain.
  • You suddenly feel lightheaded or have trouble breathing.
  • You have weakness in an arm or leg.
  • You become confused, or have trouble speaking.
  • You have dizziness, a severe headache, or vision loss.


RSFAE may lead to an infection, trouble breathing, or a life-threatening blood clot. Even after the procedure, the artery may become narrow again. The blood vessel may tear, causing bleeding.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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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.

Further information

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