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Peripheral aneurysms develop in arteries other than the aorta (the largest artery in your body). Peripheral aneurysms most commonly develop in the popliteal artery, which runs down the lower part of your thigh and knee. Though not as common, peripheral aneurysms can also develop in the:
Peripheral aneurysms are not as likely to rupture as aortic aneurysms. More often, blood clots develop that may block blood flow to your arms, legs or brain.
The specific cause of a peripheral aneurysm is not clear; injury, infection and aging can be factors. Researchers believe that atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) plays an important role. Atherosclerosis occurs when plaque builds up on the artery walls, narrowing them and slowing blood flow. Risk factors that contribute to atherosclerosis include:
Many of these risk factors can be reduced or eliminated by changing your lifestyle.
If a peripheral aneurysm is found in one leg, you are at greater risk of having one in the other leg. Peripheral aneurysm also increases your risk of aortic aneurysm.
Most people do not feel any symptoms with a peripheral aneurysm, especially if it is small. The warning signs that you may have an aneurysm depend on where it is and its size. Symptoms may include:
The vascular surgeons at Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center have extensive experience with traditional open repair of aneurysms, including repair of complex cases. They are also expert at minimally invasive repairs, and have experience in the use of all of the available stent graft technologies available to treat a wide variety of aneurysms. Ohio State's participation in national clinical trials helps direct the development of the next generation of stent grafts for the treatment of aneurysms.
Tests your physician can use to confirm whether you have an aneurysm include:
A peripheral aneurysm requires surgical repair because of the risk of a sudden blockage or a dislodged clot obstructing blood flow. If the aneurysm is small and you have no symptoms, your physician will monitor its size to determine when surgery is needed.
There are generally two types of aneurysm repair surgeries:
If a blood clot is blocking the aneurysm, thrombolytic therapy (the use of drugs to dissolve or break up blood clots) may be used before surgery.
Dr. Michael Go discusses the common signs and symptoms of vascular disease.
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