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So a vascular surgeon is a surgeon who specializes in treatment of the arteries of the body, as well as the veins of the body. They treat all these arteries and veins, with the exclusion of the heart. That includes vessels within the lower extremities, the upper extremities, the abdomen, and even in the chest.
The most common diseases seen by a vascular surgeon include peripheral arterial disease, aneurism disease, cerebral vascular disease, which can result in stroke or mini-stroke, as well as venous disease mostly affecting the lower extremities.
The evaluation process for vascular diseases utilizes noninvasive technology, such as ultrasound. With ultrasound we can assess the degree of blood flow to the lower extremities, we can assess the size of aneurisms, the degree of blockage of carotid arteries which can cause strokes, and the function of the veins of the lower extremities.
Vascular surgery has undergone quite a change in the last decade. Most treatments can be rendered either on an outpatient basis or with a one-night stay in the hospital. For instance, lower extremity arterial disease or peripheral arterial disease can, in the majority of cases, be treated with simple balloon angioplasty and stenting on an outpatient basis. Aneurism disease in over 90 percent of patients can as well be treated with minimally invasive techniques, such as endovascular repair of both the abdominal aneurism or even thoracic aneurisms. Cerebral vascular disease can be treated with either angioplasty and stenting or endarterectomy, which is a manual cleanout of the artery. Both of these only require an overnight stay. And venous diseases can be treated in a myriad of ways, including conservative compression management, radiofrequency ablation of the veins using either radiofrequency energy or laser energy, and of course foam sclerotherapy, and then the classic treatments of removal and stripping of these veins, again all on an outpatient basis.
When a patient comes to the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute at Passavant they’ll have the ability to have all their vascular issues addressed at a single visit. That includes addressing peripheral vascular disease, coronary disease, and cerebral vascular disease. With all of these specialists gathered in one spot at the same time it creates an optimal situation for global vascular care and risk-factor modification strategies.