Vascular Surgery is a surgical specialty focused on the circulatory (a.k.a., "vascular") system, which includes arteries and veins. Vascular surgeons diagnose and treat circulatory disease anywhere in the body except the brain and the heart, since these are the respective domains of neurosurgeons and cardiothoracic surgeons.
Here's how the American Board of Surgery -- the board-certifying body for vascular surgery -- describes what vascular surgeons do:
"A vascular surgeon has expertise in the diagnosis and care of patients with diseases and disorders affecting the arteries, veins, and lymphatic systems, excluding vessels of the brain and heart. Vascular surgeons are also trained in the treatment of vascular disease by medical (nonsurgical) means. Common procedures performed by vascular surgeons include the opening of artery blockages, repair of veins to improve circulation, treatment of aneurysms (bulges) in the aorta, and care of patients suffering vascular trauma."
Vascular surgeons diagnose and treat a wide range of blood vessel disorders, from acute life-and limb-threatening conditions such as pulmonary embolism (a clot that has traveled to the lung), aortic aneurysm and acutely blocked arm and leg arteries, to chronic conditions such as varicose veins and less-acute forms of peripheral arterial disease, including circulation-related diabetes complications.
Vascular surgeons perform both open surgical (conventional) and catheter-based (minimally invasive) procedures. Minimally invasive vascular surgery is also referred to as endovascular surgery (since it is performed, literally, inside the blood vessel) and includes procedures such as percutaneous balloon angioplasty and stent placement. As interest and advances in minimally invasive techniques expand, vascular surgery is evolving rapidly to incorporate an increasing array of endovascular procedures.
However, vascular surgeons do much more than surgery and procedures. As circulatory system experts, they also provide comprehensive care for people with blood vessel diseases, beginning with diagnosis and continuing through treatment and follow-up, and often in conjunction with a number of other medical specialists to optimize management of patients with chronic vascular disease.
Vascular Surgery and Chester County Hospital
Vascular surgery and procedures are part of the Department of Surgery spectrum of services at Chester County Hospital. As such, vascular surgery patients benefit from the comprehensive support of their surgeons along with primary care physicians, cardiologists (specialists in the medical aspects of blood vessel disorders), medical intensivists, radiologists, endocrinologists, wound care specialists, respiratory therapists, pathologists, rehabilitation programs and the full suite of clinical services. In addition, the hospital offers Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) Screening to help patient detect any early signs of blood vessel disorders so that they can be treated before more severe problems occur.
For more information or to schedule a Peripheral Vascular Screening, please call the Nurse Navigator at 610.738.2771.
For more information about vascular surgeons on the Medical Staff at Chester County Hospital, call our Physician Referral Service at 800-789-PENN (7366) or visit the Find a Doctor section of our website.