Vascular surgery

From ArticleWorld

Vascular surgery is the type of surgery that is performed on the arteries and veins of the body. Vascular surgeons often do not perform heart surgery or intracranial vascular surgery as this is the realm of cardiovascular surgeons and neurosurgeons, respectively.

Arterial surgery

Vascular surgeons spend most of their time performing surgery on the arteries of the body. They treat aneurysms of the major blood vessels, particularly the aorta. Aneurysms are areas of dilatation of the blood vessel that can rupture if not treated.

Vascular surgeons also treat blockages of arteries that cause ischemia or lack of blood flow to a body area. Blockages in the carotid arteries can lead to strokes. These are treated with either removal of the area of blockage (a carotid endarterectomy) or with a procedure known as carotid stenting, where a tube is placed within the artery that allows blood flow to pass through it. Blockages of the renal arteries can be removed to allow normal blood flow to the kidneys.

Several areas of blockage in the lower extremity lead to anything from cold feet to loss of a limb. If the blockage is in the iliac arteries, most of the limb is affected. Lower blockages in the femoral or popliteal arteries cause more distal disease and spare the upper leg. Vascular surgeons can either remove plaque build-up in the arteries or can remove clots that threaten the viability of the limb on an emergency basis.

Venous surgery

Vascular surgeons also deal with diseases of the veins. They can help reduce the involvement of varicose veins in the legs through various surgical interventions. They can also remove venous malformations, which are veins that form a tumor-like collection in an area that is cosmetically unacceptable or are large enough to be dangerous to the person.

Vascular surgeons also treat deep vein thromboses, usually of the lower extremities that can send clots to the lung and become fatal if the clots are large. These are often treated by inserting a filter in the inferior vena cava that prevents the clots from reaching the lungs.