Lubbock TX : The vascular system is also known as the circulatory system. The vascular system is made up of the vessels that carry blood and lymphatic fluid (a clear, colorless fluid that contains water and blood cells) throughout the body.
The vessels that carry blood and lymphatic fluids throughout the body are the arteries and veins. By carrying blood throughout the body, oxygen and nutrients are delivered to the body tissues.
The arteries carry blood from the heart to other parts of the body while the veins carry blood from other parts of the body back to the heart. This flow of blood from the heart to the other parts of the body and back to the heart is known as the circulatory system.
Conditions such as narrowing of the arteries, varicose veins, and other vascular diseases can obstruct the effective flow of blood to and from the heart. Obstruction of the free flow of blood can lead to serious medical conditions including coronary artery disease, myocardial infarction, heart failure, and stroke.
Vascular surgery is a surgical subspecialty whereby diseases of the vascular system such as the arteries, veins and lymphatic circulation, are managed by vascular surgeons that conduct medical therapy, minimally-invasive catheter procedures, and surgical reconstruction procedures. They also conduct open surgery and endovascular procedures.
Vascular surgeons are specialists who are highly trained to treat diseases of the vascular system and conduct different surgical and minimally-invasive catheter procedures for various vascular diseases and conditions. Vascular surgeons are trained in open, minimally-invasive, complicated surgery, and endovascular procedures.
What surgeries does a vascular surgeon do?
Vascular surgeons are trained in the diagnosis and management of diseases affecting the vascular system. Apart from performing surgeries, vascular surgeons also make sure patients with vascular diseases know and understand all their treatment options. Vascular surgeons can treat patients with vascular diseases that require surgery and those that don’t require surgery.
They can take care of patients with diseases and disorders affecting the arteries, veins and lymphatic systems in the other parts of the body excluding the brain and heart.
Common procedures performed by vascular surgeons include:
- Angioplasty and Stenting
The arteries carried blood from the heart to other parts of the body. Deposits of cholesterol, calcium, and plaques can buildup on the inner walls of the arteries. These plaques narrow the inner walls of the arteries and hinder the free flow of blood. The flow of blood can reduce or completely stop, causing lack of blood to the parts of the body that the arteries supply blood.
Angioplasty is a procedure that is performed to widen narrowed or blocked arteries. During angioplasty, your vascular surgeon inflates a small balloon within the narrowed or blocked artery to widen it so that blood can flow through. Your surgeon will also insert a stent (a tiny meshed tube) to support the walls of the artery and keep it open.
Arteriovenous Fistula Creation for Dialysis Access
Patients with kidney failure may need to undergo Haemodialysis. This is a procedure performed by vascular surgeons to manage patients that are suffering from kidney failure. You will be attached to a machine called a dialyser through a thin tube. Your blood will be drawn into the dialyser for filtration through a needle that is inserted in your arm.
The blood will be circulated in the dialyser and the filtered blood will be returned to your body through another thin tube. The dialysis machine then takes over the function of your diseased kidneys by filtering wastes out from your blood.
This surgery is performed to remove plaque (fat deposits) from the carotid arteries of the neck (the main artery that supplies blood to the brain). This surgery may be recommended for individuals with severe narrowing of the carotid arteries.
The aim of the surgery is to reduce the risk of stroke by rerouting blood flow to the brain. During the surgery, your vascular surgeon will make an incision over the neck to expose the narrowed carotid artery. A plastic tube will be placed into the artery above and below the narrowed artery to re-route the blood flow.
The narrowed artery is then opened and the plaque removed. The surgeon will then remove the plastic tube and close the artery and skin incisions.
Endarterectomy is a surgical procedure to remove plaque from narrowed artery. During the surgery, a small incision is made over the location of the narrowed artery to expose the artery. The surgeon will place a tube to temporarily re-route blood flow. The narrowed artery will be cut open and the plaque removed.
The surgeon may graft a vein from the leg onto the artery to repair the artery. The tube is then removed and the artery and skin incisions are stitched closed.
Endovascular Stent Graft
An aneurysm is a bulging or swelling in a weak area along the wall of an artery. When this bulging grows larger, it can eventually burst or rupture, causing internal bleeding and possibly death.
Endovascular stent grafting is a procedure for the treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms and thoracic aortic aneurysms. It involves the use of an endovascular stent graft to reinforce the wall of the aorta (a large artery that carries oxygen-rich blood from the left ventricle of the heart to other parts of the body) and to prevent rupturing of the damaged area.
Surgical bypass is a surgical procedure that is usually performed in patients with narrowed or blocked arteries who are not good candidates for angioplasty or who angioplasty hasn’t been effective. It involves rerouting around a section of the narrowed or blocked artery.
Other procedures that vascular surgeons can perform include:
- Thoracic Outlet Surgery
- Varicose vein surgery
- Catheter-Directed Thrombolytic Therapy
- Endovascular Treatment of an Aortic Dissection
- Open Surgery Treatment of an Aortic Dissection
- Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter Line
- Surgical Bypass for Aortoiliac Occlusive Disease
- Thoracic Endovascular Aortic Repair
- Thrombolytic Therapy
- Transcarotid Artery Revascularization
How serious is vascular surgery?
Vascular surgeries are commonly referred to as hig- risk surgeries. Vascular surgeries can lead to serious complications, especially if not performed by a skilled surgeon. Vascular surgeries are very serious surgeries that require a high level of skill, expertise, and experience.
What is a vascular surgery leg?
Peripheral artery disease is a circulatory problem in which the artery that supplies blood to your legs become narrowed or blocked due to the buildup of plaque in the artery. This reduces arteries blood flow to your legs.
Peripheral artery bypass is a vascular surgery of the leg performed to reroute the blood supply around a narrowed or blocked artery in your leg. During the surgery, a graft (plastic tube or vein taken from your body) is used to replace or bypass the blocked part of the artery.
Why do I need to see a vascular surgeon?
If you have any vascular or circulatory health issues, you will need to see a vascular surgeon. A vascular surgeon can diagnose your condition to fully understand your condition and the right treatment options available for your condition. If you have any problems with your arteries, veins, or blood flow, you should see a vascular surgeon. It is advised to see a vascular surgeon as early as possible in order to prevent serious complications.
What are the symptoms of vascular problems?
Symptoms of vascular problems include:
- Pale or skin that’s turning blue
- Lack of hair on your leg
- Lack of toenail growth or slow toenail growth
- Painful cramping in the hips, thighs or calf muscles after certain activities
- Numbness or weakness in the leg
- Sores on the toes, feet, or legs that heal slowly or don’t heal at all
- Unexplained cold skin temperature
- Thin, brittle, shiny skin on the legs and feet
- Weak pulses in the legs and the feet
- Impotence or erectile dysfunction in men
What is the most common vascular disease?
Peripheral artery disease is the most common vascular disease. Others include abdominal aortic aneurysm, carotid artery disease, arteriovenous malformation, critical limb-threatening ischemia, pulmonary embolism, varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis, and chronic venous insufficiency.
Can you walk after vascular surgery?
You can’t walk immediately after vascular surgery due to the incision made and anesthesia used. Depending on the type of vascular surgery, you may be able to walk for a few minutes to few hours after some hours.
Most surgeons recommend taking at least an hour’s walk every day after undergoing certain types of vascular surgery such as varicose vein surgery.
What should I do after vascular surgery?
After undergoing vascular surgery, there are certain things you should do. These include:
- Wear compression stockings for the first 2 weeks to reduce bruising and swelling.
- Take short walks and slowly increase your activity level.
- Only do simple activities and avoid strenuous activities.
- Take your medications as prescribed by your surgeon.
- Follow all other instructions given to you by your surgeon.
What is major vascular surgery?
Most vascular surgeries are major surgeries because they are invasive and reconstruction procedures are carried out inside the arteries and veins. Most vascular surgeries, including aortic aneurysm repair, carotid endarterectomy, endovascular stent graft, and transcarotid artery revascularization are major vascular surgeries, and they carry high risks.