This guide to vascular surgery will help you understand what it is, the training that is required in order to be able to perform it, and some conditions that are treated with this type of surgery.
Vascular surgery is a specialized type of surgery that manages the treatment of conditions related to the arteries and veins. In order to be able to perform vascular surgery, there is extensive training that is required. After the completion of medical school, there is a 4 year training in general surgery and then a 2 year fellowship training that is geared towards the specific vascular surgical techniques.
Conditions Treated through Vascular Surgery
There are many different diseases and structural problems that may affect the veins and arteries, but with vascular surgery, these problems can be treated. Vascular surgery procedures can take place in either an office setting or in the operating room, which depends on if they are open procedures that require larger incisions, or endovascular procedures that are minimally invasive and only make small incisions into the vessels. Here are some common conditions and the ways in which these would be treated through vascular surgery.
- Clogged arteries: these occur in places other than just the heart, which would be managed by a cardiac surgeon. The carotid arteries are found in the neck and transport blood to the neck and head. These can become blocked with cholesterol plaques and if there is reduced flow, may lead to reduced flow to the head or the possibility of the plaque breaking off and causing a stroke. An endarterectomy is a surgery in which the plaque is removed from inside the artery and is performed in an operating room. Endarterectomies can occur in other arteries in the body as well, but carotid endarterectomies are a common and well-known type of procedure.
- Aneurysms: these occur within arteries where there is a weakened point within the artery wall that causes an outpouching in the artery. Aneurysms are of concern, as the weakened point can lead to rupture due to the pressure within the artery. Brain aneurysms are well known, but these are managed by a neurosurgical surgeon. The other more common aneurysm is in the abdominal aorta and these are addressed by vascular surgery. This procedure is performed in the operating room and may be performed open or endovascularly to repair the weakened point in the artery to prevent rupture.
- Varicose veins: these are typically found in the legs and are caused by malfunctioning valves in the veins that prevent blood from being pushed back up toward the heart. This leads to pooling of blood in the veins that causes the varicose veins, gnarled veins that are visible on the skin. Endovascular laser therapy is used in a clinic setting that scars the vein to prevent any further blood flow through the veins.
- Peripheral vascular disease: causes narrowing of the arteries in the extremities, but mainly in the legs. This narrowing prevents adequate blood flow in the legs with weak pulses. There are several different procedures that may help this narrowing including stenting, bypass, and balloon angioplasty. All of these procedures provide the ability to open the narrowing for blood to flow adequately. With bypass, the blocked artery is bypassed using other healthy vessels to allow for blood flow. Stenting used a permanent device placed in the artery to keep the artery patent or open. Balloon angioplasty uses a balloon device within the artery to stretch the artery.
Have you been diagnosed or do you suffer from any of the above problems in your arteries or veins? Perhaps vascular surgery is an option to reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Talk to a Vein Specialist
Speak with Dr. Julian Javier, a board certified interventional cardiologist and endovascular specialist in Naples, Florida. He will discuss your medical history, perform a thorough exam, and determine if you are experiencing any of the conditions mentioned above and if vascular surgery is the right treatment option for you.