What is vascular surgery?
Your vascular system acts like a highway, transporting blood throughout your body. When a vascular condition develops, traffic jams happen, which can obstruct blood flow to and from certain parts of your body, including your heart, lungs and legs.
Issues within your vascular system can pose serious health hazards and may require vascular surgery.
A vascular surgeon is a specialist who is highly trained in treating diseases of the vascular system including:
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA)
- Arteriovenous malformation (AVM)
- Pulmonary embolism (blood clots)
- Carotid artery disease (CAD)
- Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI)
- Critical limb ischemia (CLI)
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Peripheral artery disease (PAD), also known as peripheral vascular disease (PVD)
- Renal artery disease
- Thoracic aneurysm
- Vascular disease
- Varicose veins
Even if your condition doesn’t require surgery, a vascular surgeon is the best specialist to provide you with a non-surgical treatment plan. However, if you do need surgery, our surgeons can treat a wide variety of vascular conditions through minimally invasive, endovascular techniques and traditional surgery.
When is it time to see a vascular surgeon?
Knowing when it’s time to reach out to a vascular surgeon is important – preventive and routine screenings can save your life.
If you have history of stroke, varicose veins, PAD or any of the following risk factors, it’s important to talk to your doctor as you may have a higher risk of developing vascular disease:
- Family history of vascular disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Sedentary lifestyle
- High triglycerides
Having these risk factors does not mean you will develop a vascular condition. However, it’s still important to talk to your doctor, as they can help asses your risk.
Vascular surgery treatment
Our vascular surgeons are trained in the latest technology and treatments for vascular conditions, so you can get world-class care close to home. Whenever possible, our specialists use minimally-invasive surgery to treat vascular conditions. This means you’ll have a faster recovery and smaller incisions.
We perform the following vascular surgeries in our endovascular labs:
Endovascular surgery is a minimally invasive technique that enables our surgeons to access the blood vessels though a small incision and a catheter. Through this method, they can perform a number of procedures to treat vascular diseases including:
- Aortic aneurysm
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Coronary artery disease
- Fibromuscular dysplasia
Lower extremity bypass surgery is performed by creating a new path for blood to flow around your blockage.
Lower extremity bypass surgery can help relieve:
- Dead tissue
- Pain at night, especially in your feet
- Pain felt when walking
- Sores on your legs or feet that won’t heal
Your carotid arteries are located on either side of your neck and bring blood to your brain. If these become blocked with plaque, a stent can help restore blood flow.
During a carotid artery stent procedure, your surgeon will insert a thin, mesh, metal tube (called a stent) into your carotid artery. This tube expands and increases the flow of blood throughout your carotid artery.
Vascular surgery care at Geisinger
Our vascular specialists are dedicated to providing personalized care and helping you feel your best. With the area’s largest vascular medicine program, our specialists are available 24/7. We offer:
- Advanced diagnoses – Primary care doctors (your main doctor) often send patients to us because of our advanced vascular labs. Here, we can perform many non-invasive diagnostic tests, helping us refine your diagnosis and determine the best treatment.
- Minimally invasive surgery – We use minimally invasive techniques, such as robotic surgery, whenever possible. This means smaller surgical incisions, shorter recovery and a faster return to your daily activities.
- High-tech endovascular suites – Our state-of-the-art operating suites include the imaging capabilities of a catheterization lab. This allows our surgeons to perform procedures that require both vascular surgery and image-guided techniques simultaneously. So not only can you have multiple procedures at once, you’ll only have to undergo anesthesia and recover once.
- Leading expertise – We are a national leader in researching the genetic factors linked to aortic aneurysms. This research is helping us identify people who may be at risk so they can get treatment. We also have specific expertise in carotid artery stenting and perform more of these procedures than any other program in the region.
- Collaboration – Treatment for vascular conditions can be complex. That’s why we work with other teams, including heart, cardiothoracic and nephrology. By collaborating with experts across our health system, you get the best possible care.