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About is an informational website designed to educate readers about the conditions, procedures, and tests associated with vascular surgical techniques. The descriptions presented are intended to deepen the readers understanding of topics such as endarterectomy, stenting, aneurysm, and more while encouraging them to contact their local vascular surgeon or specialist for more information. Read More.

What is Vascular Surgery?

Vascular surgery is a surgical specialty field which addresses the diseases, illnesses, and other conditions that may affect the healthy operation of blood vessels both arteries and veins - throughout the body. The only vessels which are not treated by vascular surgeons are those located in the heart and the brain; those vessels are treated by cardiothoracic surgeons and neurosurgeons.

Men and women trained in vascular surgery can treat a wide range of conditions, from common varicose vein diseases, to the more esoteric conditions affecting diabetics and stroke patients.

Vascular surgery addresses arterial disease, an increasingly common phenomenon which affects men and women, usually as they age. Stroke is a common result of untreated arterial disease, which occurs as the carotid arteries major arteries in your neck - supplying oxygenated blood to the brain become partially or completely blocked. When carotid artery disease is particularly problematic, vascular surgeons can treat the affected area of the artery surgically, removing the buildup that has caused the artery to become blocked.

In diabetic vascular disease, buildup occurs in arteries throughout the bodies of men and women with diabetes. These arterial buildups often occur in the legs of diabetic patients, in a condition known as peripheral artery disease, or PAD. There are several different courses of treatment for diabetic vascular disease. One of the more common treatments is angioplasty and stenting, a minimally invasive vascular surgery procedure which involves making a small incision in the artery of the leg and inserting a thin tube, or catheter. The catheter is used to deliver a special balloon which is inflated and then deflated in the area of the blockage in an effort to widen the vessel. In some cases, the angioplasty is followed by the insertion of a metal meshwork tube, or stent, which acts to keep the artery from narrowing again.

While vascular surgery deals with many conditions which arise as the result of other underlying diseases, it also addresses the diagnosis and treatment of several diseases which primarily target the vessels, including scleroderma and Raynauds disases.

Scleroderma is a disease which is characterized by hardening of the vessels, as well as other vascular alterations. Raynauds disease is a condition which can result in the discoloration of fingers and toes, and is thought to be associated with spasms that restrict the regular flow of blood to the extremities.

Currently in the United States, there are two paths to becoming a vascular surgeon: a five-year residency in vascular surgery, followed by a 1- to 2-year fellowship in the field; or a five- to six-year vascular surgery residency.