A well-functioning circulatory system is critical to good health – without a supply of oxygen-rich blood, the body cannot function effectively. Vascular surgeons receive extensive training to diagnose and treat patients with conditions that can affect their arteries and veins. Learn more about vascular care services in Owosso, Michigan, and surrounding areas in Mid-Michigan.
What Does a Vascular Surgeon Do?
The vascular system is the network of blood vessels located throughout the body, except for the brain and heart. The blood vessels act like a system of roads: arteries carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body, and veins carry blood back to the heart. Without proper blood flow to the body’s organ systems and limbs, a patient can’t stay healthy or active.
Vascular surgeons are specially trained to identify and clear blockages in the vascular system that can inhibit good circulation. Some patients who see a vascular surgeon will not require surgery. Instead, they can maintain a healthy circulatory system through medication, exercise, and other non-invasive treatment options. Vascular surgeons treat a wide range of conditions, including:
- Aneurysm: This is an enlargement or ballooning that develops in the wall of an artery that, if left untreated, can rupture and lead to internal bleeding.
- Carotid artery disease: This is a blockage or narrowing in the arteries that supply blood to the brain, which can lead to a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or stroke.
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT): A condition that occurs when a thrombus (blood clot) develops due to a damaged vein or poor blood flow, DVT most frequently occurs in a patient’s lower leg.
- Peripheral arterial disease (PAD): This condition is caused by a buildup of plaque in the blood vessels, which can reduce blood flow and eventually lead to arterial blockages. Advanced PAD can result in infections, foot ulcers, and even limb amputation.
Expert and Compassionate Care
The vascular surgeons at Memorial Healthcare provide individualized patient care to achieve the best possible health outcomes. Some of the surgical procedures available at Memorial Healthcare include:
- AV fistula creation: An arteriovenous (AV) fistula is a connection between an artery and a vein that is used to help a patient receive dialysis treatment. During dialysis, two needles are inserted into the AV fistula – one to remove blood for filtration and the other to return it to the body. A vascular surgeon must stitch together the blood vessels to create a durable fistula that can withstand ongoing dialysis treatment.
- Declots: A vascular surgeon may dissolve a blood clot mechanically (thrombectomy) or by medication delivery (thrombolysis).
- IVC placement: An inferior vena cava (IVC) filter is a surgically inserted device that can stop blood clots from going up into the lungs.
- Mediport placement: This is the surgical insertion of a small medical device that connects to a catheter to supply a patient’s body with medicine or nutrients. A mediport is often used to deliver chemotherapy drugs.
- Peripheral angioplasty and stent placement: In this minimally invasive procedure, a surgeon inserts a thin catheter with a balloon attached to clear a blocked artery. To stop the artery from becoming blocked in the future, they may insert a tiny tube called a stent that holds the artery open and allows proper blood flow.
- Permacath placement: A permacath is a tunneled hemodialysis catheter used for dialysis treatment. The catheter must be surgically inserted in the patient’s upper chest.
Providers may recommend more invasive surgical procedures, such as amputation, if a patient has advanced vascular disease and their limb health cannot be preserved.
Vascular care is not limited to surgery. Vascular surgeons may use one of the following imaging procedures to aid in diagnosis and monitoring:
- Arteriogram: This imaging test is used to look for changes in the blood vessels. A provider inserts a catheter into a blood vessel and injects it with contrast dye so that it appears on an X-ray image. An arteriogram can be used to check for conditions like stenosis or aneurysm.
- Fistulagram: Some patients need an artificial fistula connecting an artery and vein to provide access for kidney dialysis. The fistula can become blocked or narrowed over time. A fistulagram is an X-ray imaging procedure that helps to identify blockages.
- Venogram: This test uses contrast dye to allow a healthcare provider to take X-ray images of a patient’s veins. A venogram is often used to diagnose deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
The Vascular Team at Memorial Healthcare
Vascular services at Memorial Healthcare are provided by Vascular Institute of Michigan. Patients may be seen by one of the following board-certified vascular surgeons: