Vascular Surgeons are specialists highly trained to treat and medically manage conditions of the vascular system. Vascular Surgeons undergo extensive, comprehensive advanced training solely focused on managing vascular disease, unlike other specialties. Most Vascular Surgeons have had to complete 8 years or more of training, far more than any other specialist. In addition, Vascular Surgeons are the only specialty trained to manage and repair all vascular related complications.
A Vascular Surgeon ensures patients with vascular health conditions know and understand all their options. They advise their patients on their risk factors and all the different treatments including medication, dietary changes, exercise, and other lifestyle changes. Not uncommonly, we will be the first to start patients on medication to help improve their vascular disease. Our team partners with patients monitor their vascular condition over their life-time to help them achieve healthy productive lives. We also work closely with a patient’s primary care providers to coordinate care in hopes to avoid costly hospitalization. Many patients are surprised and relieved to learn that they don’t necessarily need surgery. Vascular Surgeons are primarily concerned with matching the individual with the best treatment option available. In many cases, surgery isn’t the best solution. Therefore, just because you are referred to a vascular surgeon doesn’t mean you need surgery.
Some specialists can perform only one or two kinds of vascular interventions, so their patients tend to get offered those treatments. Vascular Surgeons are trained in everything from traditional open, complicated surgery; to non or minimally invasive, endovascular procedures. Some patients need one type, some may need the other, while still others require a combination or Hybrid approach. A Hybrid approach can only be performed by a Vascular Surgeon. Vascular Surgeons are “treatment agnostic,” that is, they don’t prefer any kind of treatment over another, there focus is on the best option for their patient’s tailored needs. Patients can be assured they will get the best treatment.
Some types of doctors come into your life to perform a procedure, make sure you heal and then leave; that’s their role. They often refer you back to your primary care provider to monitor you. A Vascular Surgeon may be someone who treats you on an ongoing basis for decades. A Vascular Surgeon very often has long-term relationships with patients because vascular disease tends to be a chronic condition which requires close monitoring. With monitoring, we can identify problems early so we can make adjustments in vascular care to help prevent a worsening of their condition or the need for surgery.
Vascular Surgeons are specifically trained to treat essential all blood vessels throughout the body except the brain and heart. The surgeon can handle all blocked or damaged arteries affecting the arms and legs as well as neck blood vessels including the carotid arteries. We also treat vascular conditions in the chest and abdomen including the aorta (the largest artery in the body) and its branches. Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) often affects the legs and feet, is a common condition treated by a Vascular Surgeon. Finally, Vascular Surgeons are experts in the management of wide variety of venous conditions including varicose veins, DVT and pelvic congestion syndrome.
Typically, patients are referred to a Vascular Surgeon by their primary care provider. Occasionally patients become acquainted with a Vascular Surgeon after an unexpected event and they first meet at the hospital. You might be referred to a Vascular Surgeon if you see your regular health-care provider for pain in your legs, and learn that you have peripheral arterial disease through testing. If you are in a high-risk category such as a current or former smoker, have diabetes or high blood pressure, you may be a candidate for free screening or starting a relationship with a Vascular Surgeon.
Lastly, I encourage all patients to seek a second opinion if, after seeing a vascular specialist, they still don’t feel they fully understand their condition or all the treatments options available. Ask your vascular specialist if a procedure is really necessary or if there are procedural options for your condition they don’t perform. Ask who they would recommend for a second opinion. I would strongly encourage you to see care elsewhere for your vascular health if at any point your vascular specialist becomes offended or is dismissive with these types of questions. OVVI is committed to working on behalf of a patient’s best interest regardless if they continue their care with us. We support any of our patients wanting a second opinion.