With the advancement of medical imaging, surgeons are now able to diagnose and treat patients using minimally invasive techniques. This is particularly true in the areas of vascular surgery, neurointerventional radiology and vascular interventional radiology.
The vascular system contains an intricate network of veins and arteries that carries blood to every part of the body. Using the latest guided imaging technology, vascular surgeons are now able to treat vascular problems such as Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms, Deep Vein Thrombosis, Peripheral Vascular Disease, strokes and other life-threatening conditions without the large incisions. This means shorter hospital stays and shorter recovery time.
This specialty focuses on diagnosing and treating disorders of the brain, sinuses, spinal cord, neck and central nervous system using advanced imaging techniques. It is especially effective in treating life-threatening brain aneurysms, cerebral strokes and hemorrhages, as well as relieving the pain associated with degenerative diseases resulting from the aging process.
Vascular Interventional Radiology
Blockages in veins and arteries can result in a variety of serious, often life-threatening, medical conditions. Today vascular specialists are able to unblock blood vessels and restore critical blood flow to the body using angioplasty. Once blood flow is restored, the surgeon often place a stent to support the vessel and prevent it from narrowing, again. This type of surgery is frequently used with patients suffering from arterial atherosclerosis.
An aneurysm is an abnormal bulge occurring in a blood vessel. It is cause for concern and must be carefully monitored, because any aneurysm has the potential to rupture, creating a life-threatening situation.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) – The most common aneurysm occurs in the largest artery in the human body, the aorta, where it passes through the lower abdomen. Often an AAA is diagnosed which the physician palpates the abdomen during a regular physical examination. With minimally-invasive surgical techniques, AAA repair is now possible without a prolonged hospital stay.
Intracerebral Aneurysm – Aneurysms can also occur in the brain, often at the base of the brain, just inside the skull. In this case of an intracerebral aneurysm, the blood vessel weakens and develops a “blister” that can become increasingly thin to the point of rupturing. The result can be a stroke, coma and/or death.
Carotid Artery Disease
The carotid arteries are located on either side of the neck. Their job is to carry oxygenated blood to the brain. Like any blood vessel, the carotid arteries can develop a buildup of a waxy substance called plaque. As plaque accumulates and hardens, it narrows the carotid arteries, increasing the risk of a blockage from a blood clot or a dislodged piece of plaque. When this occurs, the blood supply to the brain is interrupted, causing a stroke.
One treatment for carotid artery disease is a carotid endarterectomy. During this surgical procedure, the vascular surgeon removes plaque from the carotid arteries.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
This life-threatening condition occurs when a blood clot lodges in one or more of the body’s deep veins. The concern is that the blood clot can break loose and travel to the lungs, blocking critical blood flow and causing a pulmonary embolism.
Often, DVT occurs in the legs after a long period of inactivity. This is one reason why surgical patients are encouraged to move as part of their recovery and why pressure hose are a good travel accessory if you are anticipating a long plane or car ride. While DVT can occur without pain or soreness, the most common symptom is cramping and discomfort in the calf.
Peripheral Vascular Disease
As we age, blood vessels begin to narrow and lose their elasticity. In some individuals this produces peripheral vascular disease, a condition that lessens the flow of blood to arms, legs and feet. In some instances, patients benefit from vascular surgery. During the procedure, the vascular surgeon restores healthy circulation by bypassing the blocked blood vessel with a healthy vessel.
Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. It occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted, depriving the brain of essential oxygen and nutrients. When this occurs, brain cells begin to die almost immediately.
Vascular surgeons play an important role in helping patients survive strokes by controlling bleeding and the pressure it puts on the brain, in the case of hemorrhagic strokes, and by delivering medication to the site of the stroke or removing a blood clot, in the case of ischemic strokes. Vascular surgeons also help prevent strokes by removing clots and plaque before a life-threatening incident occurs.