Surgical Procedures

Vascular Surgery

Peripheral Vascular Surgery is the surgical subspecialty that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of disease and disorders of blood vessels. The spectrum of care usually involves vascular anatomy outside the chest such as the abdominal aorta, carotid arteries, and upper and lower extremity arteries and veins. Although many people think of varicose veins when someone mentions a vascular surgeon, vein surgery is often only a small part of what a vascular surgeon does. Select a link below to learn about the more common conditions a vascular surgeon manages.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms
An aortic aneurysm is a dilation of a segment of the aorta where the wall of the vessel becomes thin and weak. The most common site involves the abdominal aorta below the arteries to the kidneys. The main risk of an aortic aneurysm is rupture. If the aneurysm ruptures, the chance for survival is very low. If the aneurysm is repaired before rupture, the chance of survival is very good. In general, an abdominal aortic aneurysm should be repaired when it reaches a size of 5 centimeters in diameter. On average, an aortic aneurysm will increase in size 0.5 centimeters per year. A more rapid rate of enlargement might lead us to recommend repair before the aneurysm reaches 5 centimeters.

There are currently two acceptable methods used to repair an abdominal aortic aneurysm. The most common method involves making an incision in the abdomen and directly exposing the aneurysm. The involved section of aorta is completely replaced with a prosthetic fabric tube. This operation is highly effective at reducing the risk of aneurysm rupture. A newer, less invasive technique called endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR) involves making a small incision in the upper part of each thigh. A catheter containing the fabric tube is passed up through the arteries in the leg and into the aneurysm. At that point, the catheter is removed leaving the fabric tube, which attaches itself to the inside of the aorta above and below the aneurysm effectively replacing the aorta, but without requiring the large abdominal incision. The newer, less invasive technique may or may not be the best approach to take. There are many factors to be considered when deciding on which type of repair to recommend. A vascular surgeon is in the best position to determine the appropriate method of aneurysm repair and can provide definitive treatment of the aneurysm using either technique.

Learn more about Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

Learn more about Endovascular repair of Aortic Aneurysm

Learn more about Carotid Artery Occlusive Disease

Learn more about Peripheral Vascular Occlusive Disease

More types of vascular conditions