The surgeon uses a blood vessel from another part of your body to make a new channel so blood can flow around the blocked area of your artery or arteries. (Don't worry: Removing arteries and veins won't significantly affect the blood flow from where they're taken.)
The blood vessel that will bypass your blockage comes from one of three places:
1. The chest wall
2. The leg
3. The arm
Before the operation:
During the operation, the surgeon will usually connect you to a heart-lung machine. This machine controls your lungs and heart. It adds oxygen to your blood and circulates the blood throughout your body. The machine makes it possible for the surgeon to stop your heart from beating while he or she sews the new blood vessel in place.
The main steps of bypass surgery:
The surgery can take three to six hours. The time spent on the heart-lung bypass machine and making the bypass is much less — usually under an hour. The length of time depends on what has to be done. Each operation varies in complexity.
You may hear about several new techniques for bypass surgery. Port-access coronary bypass and minimally invasive coronary artery bypass are considered minimally invasive surgeries. This means they don't involve opening the chest to the same degree that standard bypass surgery does. (This type of surgery is also called limited-access coronary artery surgery.) Another technique, called off-pump bypass surgery, is performed without stopping the heart. The goal of all these newer techniques is to decrease complications and/or pain.
Port-Access Coronary Artery Bypass
Minimally Invasive Coronary Artery Bypass
Off-Pump Coronary Artery Bypass
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