A popliteal aneurysm is bulging and weakness in the wall of the popliteal artery, which supplies blood to the knee joint, thigh and calf. A popliteal aneurysm can burst, which may cause life-threatening, uncontrolled bleeding. The aneurysm may also cause a blood clot, potentially requiring a leg amputation.
Causes of Popliteal Aneurysms
The exact cause of popliteal aneurysms is not known, though atherosclerosis may play a key role. Trauma to the artery may also cause a popliteal aneurysm.
Are You at Risk?
You may be at risk for a popliteal aneurysm if you:
- Have high cholesterol
- Have high blood pressure
- Have a bacterial infection
- Have had blood-vessel reconstruction in one or both legs
Symptoms of Popliteal Aneurysms
Many popliteal aneurysms have no symptoms. Common symptoms include:
- Pain behind the knee
- An edema (collection of watery fluid) in the lower leg
- Foot pain
- Ulcers on the skin of the feet that don't heal
Popliteal Aneurysms: Diagnosis & Treatment
We can diagnose you through tests that include:
- Computed tomography (CT) scan
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
Surgery is generally required to treat popliteal aneurysms. Your surgeon will typically create a bypass around the area of the artery where the aneurysm is located.
It's important for you to carefully control high blood pressure with medication, if necessary.
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Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.