A femoral aneurysm occurs when an artery in the upper leg starts to bulge and becomes susceptible to rupture. If a femoral aneurysm causes a full rupture in the artery, it can cause a large amount of internal bleeding, although this only occurs in the worst cases. Even though symptoms of an aneurysm in this artery are rarely noticeable, they can be spotted by a physical examination. Some of the rare symptoms of a femoral aneurysm include swelling and a pulsating feeling in the leg.
In most cases, a femoral aneurysm is a relatively mild condition and not an immediate cause for concern. In fact, most examples of this condition have no noticeable symptoms, and patients may never find out about the problem until a routine examination takes place. The most severe cases, however, require immediate treatment in order to prevent additional problems from developing.
Femoral aneurysms tend to occur in the older population, although they can happen at any age. Men are also more likely to suffer from the problem than women. In many cases, the problem may occur in both legs rather than just one at a time. It is not yet known why the condition occurs.
If a doctor thinks that a femoral aneurysm may be present, then the first step is proper diagnosis. This is usually achieved through an ultrasound. Not only will this help to confirm the presence of an aneurysm, it also provides a guideline to the size and can help show if a clot is present.
Whether or not surgery is required to fix a femoral aneurysm depends on the exact condition and varies between patients. In many cases, a doctor will prefer to keep a close eye on the problem to see how it develops rather than asking for surgery right away. A number of factors need to be taken into account, however, including how big the aneurysm is, whether there is a blood clot, and what condition the person is in to cope with an operation.
If surgery is required, then it is usually successful and does not cause many long-term side effects. There are, however, risks to any surgery. A prosthetic artery is usually placed into the area that suffered from the aneurysm.
In the worst cases, a femoral aneurysm can cause a rupture to the artery. This is a serious problem and can have long lasting effects. Sometimes a full rupture can require amputation of the foot or lower leg.