Popliteal artery aneurysms are rare but are associated with increased mortality and limb loss once patients become symptomatic. Surgical intervention is considered for medically fit patients with a popliteal artery aneurysm when the artery reaches at least 20 mm in diameter.
A popliteal aneurysm is defined as a popliteal artery that is at least 1.5 times the diameter of the proximal segment of the same vessel.1 However,as the entire arterial system is often enlarged a comparison between one segment and another may not be helpful; the most common size of popliteal artery is between 5 and 11mm in diameter based on sex and body size so theoretically even an 8 mm popliteal artery could be considered aneurysmal in some people.2,3 According to most authors, the popliteal artery should be a minimum of 12 mm in diameter to qualify as an aneurysm. In other words the popliteal artery should be at least 50% larger than the healthy one and at least 12 mm in diameter (Figure 1).
Picture credit: © Chris Wikoff, 2017