Vascular Surgery

What is vascular surgery?
Vascular surgery is a treatment option available to people with vascular conditions in the arteries or veins.

What are the different types of vascular surgery?
There are two types of vascular surgery procedures: arterial vascular surgical procedures and venous vascular surgical procedures.

Examples of arterial vascular surgical procedures include:

  • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm:  An aneurysm is a bulging sac in a vessel that is at risk of rupture.  When this occurs in the big artery in the abdomen (aorta) and it reaches a large size (greater than 5 cm), is should be repaired.  An abdominal aortic aneurysm may be repaired by a conventional surgical approach (abdominal incision) or through newer less invasive procedure called an abdominal aortic stent-graft procedure.

  • Aneurysm repairs: Most peripheral aneurysms occur in the artery that runs down the back of your lower thigh and knee. On rare occasions, they can also develop in the femoral artery in your groin, the carotid artery in your neck, or the arteries in your arm.

  • Aorto-bifemoral bypass grafting: Aorto-iliac occulusive disease occurs when your iliac arteries, which supply blood to the legs, become narrowed or blocked. Bypass surgery creates a detour around the blocked artery to restore blood flow to the legs. The bypass may be done using a conventional open surgical approach or using less invasive hand-port assisted laparoscope depending on the patient's specific condition.

  • Carotid Endarterectomy:  The carotid arteries bring blood from the heart to the brain. These arteries are found in the neck and are often the site of narrowing, which may result in reduced brain blood flow and stroke. A carotid endarterectomy (CEA) is the surgical procedure to open the narrowed arteries and restore proper blood flow to the brain in order to avoid a stroke.

  • Gastrointestingal Arterial Bypass:  Problems can occur in the arteries that provide blood to the intestines, stomach, and other organs that help with digestion.  If the obstruction cannot be opened with an angioplasty or stent procedure, a surgical procedure may be necessary. Opening the obstruction is critical to maintain proper bowel and digestive functions.

  • Hemodialysis Access Surgery:  Patients who will require long-term dialysis most often require an arteriovenous hemodialysis graft or fistula to provide an access route for the hemodialysis procedure.  Formation of the access site requires a surgical procedure.  Maintenance of the site (removing clots or blockages) may be accomplished with a minimally invasive procedure or with surgery, depending upon the condition of the graft.

  • Peripheral Arterial Bypass:   Leg pain is one of the most common complaints for people with peripheral vascular disease. The leg pain is caused by obstructions in the arteries in the abdomen, legs and feet. These obstructions reduce blood flow which can also cause sores that do not heal or gangrene in the extremity. If an angioplasty or stent procedure is not indicated, surgeons can often surgically bypass these areas to restore adequate blood flow, which usually reduces pain, promotes healing and reduces other symptoms.

  • Renal Artery Bypass:  Narrowing of the artery leading to the kidney causes a specific type of high blood pressure (renal artery hypertension).  Bypassing the narrowing with a surgical approach may be indicated to control blood pressure or improve the overall function of the kidney.  Many times, the narrowing can be treated with an angioplasty or stent procedure as well.

  • Sclerotherapy:  A chemical is injected into the varicose veins. Blood that would normal return to the heart through these veins returns to the heart through other veins. Your body will eventually absorb the veins that received the injection.

  • Stab-Avulsion:  This surgical procedure removes segments of small varicose veins through tiny incisions. 

  • Stripping:  This surgical procedure uses a "stripping" instrument to remove the major varicose veins such as the great saphenous vein.

These procedures are determined by the severity of the venous condition and the general health of the patient.

Who performs vascular surgery?
These procedures are performed by highly experienced vascular and cardiovascular surgeons.  These specially trained surgeons consult with your primary care or referring physician and interventional radiologist to identify and provide the best treatment for your specific vascular problem.

For More Information
If you'd like to know if Sharp HealthCare has programs and services that meet your needs or those of your family, please visit our Medical Services section.