After bypass surgery, the patient is moved to a recovery area where blood pressure, temperature, and heart rate are monitored for an hour or more. The surgical site is checked regularly. The patient is then transferred to a concentrated care unit to be observed for any signs of complications. The total hospital stay for femoropopliteal bypass or femorotibial bypass surgery may be two to four days. Recovery is slower with aortobifemoral bypass surgery, which involves abdominal incisions, and the hospital stay may extend up to a week. Walking will begin immediately for patients who have had femoropopliteal or femorotibial bypasses, but patients who have had aortobifemoral bypass may be kept in bed for 48 hours. When bypass patients go home, walking more each day, as tolerated, is encouraged to help maintain blood flow and muscle strength. Feet and legs can be elevated on a footstool or pillow when the patient rests. Some swelling of the leg should be expected; it does not indicate a problem and will resolve within a month or two.
During recuperation, the patient may be given pain medication if needed, and clot prevention (anticoagulant) medication. Any redness of the surgical site or other signs of infection will be treated with antibiotics. Patients are advised to reduce the risk factors for atherosclerosis in order to avoid repeat narrowing or blockage of the arteries. Repeat stenosis (restenosis) has been shown to occur frequently in people who do not make the necessary lifestyle modifications, such as changes in diet, exercise, and smoking cessation. The benefits of the bypass surgery may only be temporary if underlying disease, such as atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, or diabetes, is not also treated.