We reviewed 95 cases of vein graft and anastomotic lesions treated with percutaneous transluminal balloon angioplasty (PTA) and 30 cases treated surgically. The therapy was deemed a failure if the lesion recurred or if the graft closed. The 21-month patency rate of lesions treated surgically was 86%, which was significantly better than the 42% patency rate for all lesions treated with PTA (P < 0.01). An evaluation of the lesion and graft characteristics that could influence the patency of stenotic lesions treated with PTA included: lesion length, minimum graft diameter, lesion location, and lesion type. The 66% patency rate at 24 months for the 41 simple lesions (single, nonrecurrent, <15 mm in length, and within grafts ≥3 mm minimal diameter) was significantly better than the 17% patency rate for the 50 complex lesions (multiple, recurrent, ≥15 mm in length, or within grafts <3 mm in minimal diameter) (P < 0.01). In addition, the 21-month patency rate for the surgically treated group (86%) was not significantly better than that of the angioplasty-treated simple lesions (66%). When feasible, vein graft lesions are best treated with simple surgical interventions. PTA can be useful to maintain the patency of severely compromised grafts prior to surgical repair, to treat simple lesions difficult to reach surgically, and for patients with medical contraindications for an operation.