What is Vascular Surgery?
Vascular surgery is a surgical subspecialty in which diseases of the vascular system, or arteries and veins, are managed by medical therapy, minimally-invasive catheter procedures, and surgical reconstruction.
What are the major arteries and veins in our body?
- Arteries carry blood away from the heart; the main artery is the aorta.
- Smaller arteries called arterioles diverge into capillary beds, which contain 10-100 capillaries that branch among the cells and tissues of the body.
- Capillaries carry blood away from the body and exchange nutrients, waste, and oxygen with tissues at the cellular level.
- Veins are blood vessels that bring blood back to the heart and drain blood from organs and limbs.
- Capillaries have one layer of cells (the endothelial tunic or tunica intima) where diffusion and exchange of materials takes place.
- Veins and arteries have two more tunics that surround the endothelium: the middle tunica media is composed of smooth muscle that regulates blood flow, while the outer tunica externa is connective tissue that supports blood vessels.
What are the diseases treated under this speciality?
- Aortic aneurysm: a dilation or ballooning of a weakened part of the aortic artery wall.
- Carotid Artery disease: The carotid arteries are the two major arteries in the neck, located on either side of the windpipe, that provide most of the blood supply to the brain. Over time, these arteries may become narrowed or blocked due to a process called atherosclerosis or “hardening of the arteries”. The build-up may obstruct the blood flow to the brain, leading to a stroke or a “mini” stroke (TIA).
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and thrombophlebitis are conditions that involve inflammation and blood clot formation in the veins
- Thrombophlebitis refers to inflammation and blood clot (thrombus) formation occurring in the superficial veins..
- Peripheral Arterial Disease (Lower Extremity Arterial Occlusive Disease) Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries is caused by the accumulation of a fatty substance called plaque on the inside of the walls of arteries. Narrowing of the arteries in the lower extremities of the body decreases the blood supply to the muscles and tissues in the surrounding area.
- Renal/Mesenteric Artery Occlusive Disease: Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, is caused by the accumulation of a fatty substance called plaque on the inside of the walls of arteries.
- Vein Disease: Small spider veins, •Larger bulging varicose veins
- Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), which is impaired vein function that can cause swelling, discoloration, and increased risk of infection and ulcers
- Venous leg ulcers, which can be painful and difficult to heal;
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Pelvic vein disease, also called pelvic congestion syndrome, which is the development of varicose veins in the pelvis.
What are the general symptoms that a patient can have with this disease?
- swelling of the legs or ankles (edema)
- pain that gets worse when you stand and gets better when you raise your legs.
- leg cramps.
- aching, throbbing, or a feeling of heaviness in your legs.
- itchy legs.
- thickening of the skin on your legs or ankles
- Painful cramping in your hip, thigh or calf muscles after certain activities, such as walking or climbing stairs (claudication)
- Leg numbness or weakness.
- Coldness in your lower leg or foot, especially when compared with the other side.