As most people grow older, various health conditions and disorders tend to develop. Most of these conditions affect the vascular system and alter the normal flow of blood into various parts, including the brain. This triggers a wide range of diseases that could eventually cause death if not addressed on time.
While there are many treatment forms for such vascular disorders, vascular surgery is an effective option. It not only corrects the condition but also prevents future recurrence and complications. Furthermore, vascular surgery is much safe, less painful, and the recovery period is short.
Vascular Surgery Definition
Vascular surgery is a special surgical branch of medicine. It’s mainly concerned with treating and correcting diseases of the vascular system, including the veins, arteries, and lymphatic vessels.
The vascular condition can highly alter your normal health and limit the quality of life. It can also increase the chances of developing life-threatening health issues, such as stroke. As such, vascular surgery is a helpful treatment and prevention alternative for these conditions.
Unlike traditional surgical procedures, modern vascular surgery has greatly advanced. As a result, the skills and expertise required in this field have influenced medical specialists to specialize in many areas. It includes the anatomic specialty pertaining to body structure, certain treatment techniques, and different patients with varying issues.
The vascular surgeons are the medical providers who are trained to diagnose and treat disorders of the vascular system. They are responsible for clinically evaluating the patients by conducting a physical examination and looking at medical history. Apart from the surgery, they also address vascular conditions using non-surgical options such as medication, drug therapy, or risk factor management.
Vascular diseases come with varying symptoms depending on the altered artery and the exact location of the artery. Therefore, the surgeons are trained to handle different conditions based on the underlying symptoms.
They also have knowledge when it comes to hearing, feeling, measuring, and observing the signs of arterial blockages like palpitation. This means that they can easily feel or detect a pulse in the affected part of the body.
If necessary, they can perform more tests to examine the condition further and identify the root cause. These tests include;
Ultrasound: This enables the surgeon to diagnose a wide range of vascular conditions. Ultrasound uses sound waves to portray images of blood vessels, making it easy for the surgeon to identify the problem.
Ankle-brachial index: This enables the surgeon to identify the severity of the vascular conditions. It involves measuring the level of blood pressure in the arms and ankles and comparing them.
Vascular Surgery Procedures
Vascular conditions usually affect the main vessels that transport blood to all the parts of the body. Due to this, there are various risks and complications associated with blockages, damages, and weakness of the vessel walls. Such issues can result in blood vessel rupture, hence causing internal bleeding and other complications.
Thus, vascular surgery is an effective treatment option used to prevent these risks and other health conditions. Surgeons mostly recommended this procedure if the patient is suffering from a vascular condition that cannot be corrected using less invasive and non-surgical treatment options.
Generally, these are some of the common types of vascular surgeries that surgeons perform to treat various vascular conditions;
- Carotid artery surgery (endarterectomy)
This is a surgical procedure that surgeons often perform to address carotid artery disease. This is a condition that narrows down the arteries, hence limiting the blood flow towards the brain. Carotid artery disease could also result in a stroke.
Generally, carotid artery surgery involves opening up the artery and removing plaque that accumulates in the carotid artery. This is done to restore the normal flow of blood in the brain. After successfully unblocking the artery, the surgeon stitches the open arterial sections together, allowing them to heal and reconnect.
- Endovascular aneurysm repair
Endovascular aneurysm repair is a surgical procedure to correct an aortic aneurysm. This is a bulging or dilation in the blood vessel wall (artery). It’s caused by a weakness that affects a section of the artery wall.
Therefore, endovascular aneurysm repair is performed by creating a small groin incision. A graft is inserted into the aneurysm via the incision. It’s then guided into place with the help of x-ray technology.
Thrombectomy is a surgery to remove blood clots that form and stick in the veins and arteries. Blood clots can block and alter the standard flow of blood to certain body parts. This usually results in life-threatening disorders like acute stroke or pulmonary embolism.
During the operation, the surgeon inserts a catheter through the incision in the groin into the blood vessel. Special x-ray equipment is used to view the catheter and move it into the exact location. The blood clots are then extracted, allowing blood to flow freely to the affected part or organ.
- Bypass surgery
This is a surgery to redirect the flow of blood within the blocked area. It involves creating a different pathway for the blood to flow through, bypassing the damaged or blocked vessels.
The graft used during this procedure can be extracted from the healthy part of the vein. At times, it can be made from special synthetic material.
- Coronary angioplasty and stenting
This is a surgery to correct blockage of the arteries (angioplasty). It involves inserting a small balloon into the affected part. The balloon is then inflated to open and restore the blocked artery to its standard form.
Angioplasty can as well involve stenting. The stent refers to a small tube that surgeons insert into the repaired blood vessel. It helps keep the artery open and ensure that the blood or fluid flows freely through the artery.
Health Condition Corrected Through a Vascular Surgery
Vascular surgery is a treatment alternative for a wide range of conditions that alter the body's blood vessels. Some of these conditions include;
- Aneurysm: A condition where the part of the artery bulges or becomes weak.
- Carotid artery disease (peripheral artery disease): Occurs when the arteries carrying blood to the limbs or neck narrow down or gets blocked.
- Atherosclerosis: Involves hardening of the arteries due to plaque accumulation in the artery walls.
- Compression conditions such as thoracic outlet syndrome and nutcracker.
- Deep vein thrombosis: Blood clots that form in the vein located deep in the skin.
- Dialysis access (placement of the graft or fistula): This is done to enable the patient to get dialysis treatment for kidney disorders.
- Spider veins: These are the small webs of veins found near the skin surface.
- Varicose veins: Enlarged, swollen, or twisted veins that usually trigger pain and aching in the legs.
- Venous ulcers and diabetic (neuropathic) and arterial wounds: These are the non-healing would that limit the normal flow of blood, particularly in the legs.
- Arteries and veins trauma, mainly caused by injuries or accidents
Causes of the Vascular Diseases
Vascular diseases are more common in adults and older people. Detecting the signs and symptoms of vascular diseases during the early stages is almost impossible. As a result, a person may have a vascular disorder but cannot realize it until he or she ages.
Medical experts state that several factors can trigger both acute and chronic vascular conditions. Some of the most common factors include;
- Injury, accident, or illness
- Old age, which causes loss of elasticity in the veins and the valves
- Prolonged duration of inactivity when sitting, bed resting and standing
- Family history of heart and vascular disorders
- High cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other diseases affecting the cardiovascular system
- Excessive smoking
- Lack of sufficient exercise
Risks of Vascular Surgery
All types of surgeries come with varying risks, ranging from minor to severe risks and complications. Procedures such as incisions pose risks of infections. Also, chest or thorax surgery and any other operation that involves the large blood vessels pose higher risks of complications.
Other risks that may result after a vascular surgery include;
- Severe bleeding of the surgical area
- Heart attack or stroke
- Failed or blocked grafts
- Swelling of the leg, especially if a leg vein is used.
- Increased mental decline chances following the vascular surgery; this is if the circulatory system is severely damaged.
- Brain impairment after the procedure. This is more common among adults of 65 years and above.
Vascular surgery is a treatment option designed to address vascular disorders or diseases of the veins and arteries. These conditions affect various parts of the body and can range from minor to chronic and life-threatening conditions. Although there are other treatment forms, vascular surgery is more effective and highly recommended if the situation is more intense.
CloudHospital is an online medical platform that can help with all kinds of vascular conditions. It prioritizes patients suffering from complex and severe health conditions of the vascular system. Moreover, the vascular doctors are dedicated to providing comprehensive treatment and care to people of all ages.