Peripheral Aneurysm

Vascular Specialists

Vascular Surgeons located in Tinley Park, IL & Evergreen Park, IL

Peripheral aneurysms generally don’t cause problems while they remain small, but without treatment, an aneurysm may enlarge, leading to leg pain and leg wounds. The board-certified physicians at Vascular Specialists offer on-site diagnostics such as ultrasound to quickly diagnose a peripheral aneurysm to determine the best treatment based on your individual symptoms and health needs. If you develop symptoms, call one of the offices in Tinley Park, Illinois, or Munster, Indiana, or schedule an appointment online.

Peripheral Aneurysm Q & A

What is a peripheral aneurysm?

An aneurysm develops when a weakened area in an arterial wall fills with blood and bulges out. Aneurysms most often occur in the aorta, the large artery running from your heart through the center of your chest and abdomen.

When an aneurysm develops in an artery other than your aorta, it’s called a peripheral aneurysm. You may develop a:

  • Carotid aneurysm: affects the arteries supplying your brain
  • Iliac aneurysm: affects the arteries supplying the pelvis and legs
  • Femoral aneurysm: affects the arteries supplying your thighs
  • Popliteal aneurysm: affects the arteries supplying your knee
  • Visceral aneurysm: affects the arteries supplying your liver, kidneys, and intestines

Of these, a popliteal aneurysm is the most common, accounting for 85% of all peripheral aneurysms.

What increases my risk for a peripheral aneurysm?

Factors that increase your risk of developing a peripheral aneurysm, include:

  • Arterial injury or infection
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Obesity
  • Smoking

Your risk also increases if you have a family history of aneurysms.

What symptoms develop due to a peripheral aneurysm?

Peripheral aneurysms seldom cause symptoms until they develop blood clots that affect blood flow or become large enough to create a noticeable lump.

When symptoms appear, an aneurysm affecting your legs may cause:

  • Leg pain while walking
  • Leg weakness
  • Leg wounds or ulcers
  • Foot pain
  • Discolored toes (blue toes)
  • Shiny, smooth, dry skin
  • Thickened toenails

Pain develops in the area of your body affected by the aneurysm.

How are peripheral aneurysms diagnosed and treated?

Your treatment depends on the size of the aneurysm and the severity of your symptoms. Vascular Specialists may manage a small peripheral aneurysm with conservative medical management, treating the underlying health conditions and monitoring the aneurysm with routine ultrasounds.

Making lifestyle changes to protect the health of your blood vessels is also important. The Vascular Specialists team may recommend dietary changes, stopping smoking, and weight loss if needed.

When the aneurysm is large enough to require intervention, some people may need open surgery to repair the aneurysm with a bypass or graft.

Whenever possible, however, the team at Vascular Specialists performs minimally-invasive or endovascular procedures that use catheters guided through your blood vessels.

When the catheter reaches the aneurysm, your provider places a stent graft inside the artery. Once the graft is securely in place, blood flows through the stent rather than into the aneurysm. 

To receive screening or exceptional care for a peripheral aneurysm, call Vascular Specialists or book an appointment online.