Adventitial cystic disease is an uncommon ailment where a cyst develops in an artery and constricts or blocks the flow of blood. In most cases, it generally affects the popliteal artery which delivers blood to the knee joint, calf muscles and the foot. In rare cases, the cysts might form in other arteries.
What are the indications?
The indications of adventitial cystic disease include leg pain or heaviness while walking or exercising. The pain eventually settles if activity is stopped but often slow to resolve.
The duration of the symptoms is relatively short, usually weeks up to months. It is important to note that the symptoms strikingly resemble popliteal artery entrapment.
Who are at risk?
Young to middle-aged males are likely to end up with adventitial cystic disease. The exact cause of the condition is still unknown. Remember that men face a higher risk than women to develop the disease.
Management of adventitial cystic disease
The treatment for adventitial cystic disease is based on the symptoms and the results of the diagnostic tests.
In case symptoms are present, the doctor will surely recommend surgery. The procedure involves the removal of the cyst and reconstruction of the section of the blood vessel if needed. If surgery is done, it is unlikely for the cyst to return. In rare instances, aspiration of the cyst has been done but there is a high risk of recurrence.
What should I expect?
Hospitalization for 1-2 days is needed after surgery. Physical therapy might be required as an outpatient to promote recovery with the help of flexibility and stretching exercises.
A follow-up appointment might be required so that ultrasound can be taken of the repaired artery along with blood pressure monitoring in the feet at 1-2 months up to a year. If the artery returned to normal, the individual no longer needs further follow-up appointments unless the symptoms recur.