Vascular surgery is a surgical specialty in which diseases of the vascular system, arteries, veins, and lymphatic circulation, are treated by medical therapy, minimally-invasive catheter procedures, and surgical reconstruction. Vascular surgery has evolved from general and cardiac surgery as well as minimally invasive techniques developed by interventional radiologists. Vascular surgeons are trained in the diagnosis and treatment of various diseases that affect all parts of the vascular system except for the heart and brain. Heart and brain vessels are treated by cardiothoracic surgeons, interventional cardiologists, neurosurgeons, and interventional neuroradiologists.
Minimally Invasive Alternatives For Vascular Surgery
Angioplasty is a minimally invasive, ultrasound-guided endovascular procedure to widen narrowed or obstructed arteries or veins without surgery. A small balloon that is attached to a catheter is moved over a guide-wire into the narrowed vein and then inflated to a fixed size. The balloon expands the vein and the surrounding muscular wall, allowing for increased blood flow.
A stent may also be inserted at the time of ballooning to ensure the vein remains open, after which the balloon is then deflated and withdrawn. Angioplasty has come to include all manner of vascular interventions that are typically performed without the need for traditional surgery and involves only a small incision to perform.