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FAQs About Vascular Surgery
& the Role of a Vascular Surgeon

Q1. What Is a Vascular Surgeon?
Q2. What Are the Benefits of Seeing a Vascular Surgeon?
Q3. What Medical Conditions Can a Vascular Surgeon Manage?

You may have heard of the vascular and endovascular systems. But how much do you know about this area of medical expertise?

We’re answering a few common questions about vascular health and the role of the vascular surgeon:

What Is a Vascular Surgeon?

If you imagine the heart as a large pump driving blood throughout your body, the vascular system (which includes your arteries, veins, and lymphatic vessels) is the network of pipes through which this blood is pumped to every area of your body.

A vascular surgeon, then, is someone who underwent specialized training through a vascular surgery residency or fellowship after medical school to learn about comprehensive care of the vascular system. This training covers topics such as risk reduction, diagnostic imaging, medical and exercise management, minimally invasive endovascular therapies such as balloons and stents, palliative care, and yes, even surgery, if needed.

Through several years of rigorous training, vascular surgeons learn to suggest these different treatment strategies for patients by carefully considering the unique risks, benefits, and trade-offs of each treatment option, including vascular and endovascular surgery. This allows us to personalize the care and treatment approach for each patient and his or her problem.

Every person’s anatomy is different, and every person comes with his or her own specific history of medical issues, lifestyle habits, and prior treatments. A one-size-fits-all approach will too often lead to the wrong answer—with higher risks and poorer outcomes.

What Are the Benefits of Seeing a Vascular Surgeon?

Establishing care with a vascular surgeon gains you a lifelong partner to guide you through the complexities of the vascular disease you’ve been diagnosed with.

Due to their extensive training in the comprehensive care of those with vascular conditions, vascular surgeons serve as a one-stop-shop in the management of vascular disease, including screening, diagnosis, disease prevention, medical management, and treatment.

Vascular surgeons are trained to identify vascular disease and to rule out other potential conditions that may cause similar symptoms. This allows them to select the best screening or diagnostic tests to evaluate and treat vascular disease while reducing radiation, contrast exposure, and costs from potentially unnecessary tests.

There’s also another benefit of teaming with a vascular specialist. By working to help prevent disease progression, your vascular surgeon may be able to treat your disease without even a needle!

In the event that a surgical procedure is needed, vascular surgeons are well-trained in minimally invasive procedures performed through a needle stick as well as open surgical operations if needed.

This allows them to select the best possible approach for your personal needs, sometimes using a combination of multiple techniques (called a hybrid procedure) to provide thorough treatment while minimizing risks.

What Medical Conditions Can a Vascular Surgeon Manage?

Our team of vascular surgeons provides diagnosis, treatment, and management for a range of vascular conditions, including:

Chest and Abdomen

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • Aorto-iliac occlusive disease
  • Iliac occlusive disease
  • Mesenteric ischemia
  • Thoracic aortic aneurysm
  • Type B aortic dissection
  • Renal artery aneurysms
  • Renal artery stenosis
  • Visceral artery aneurysm
    • Celiac
    • Gastroduodenal
    • Hepatic
    • Pancreaticoduodenal
    • Splenic
    • Superior mesenteric artery

Head and Neck

  • Carotid artery disease
  • Coronary steal syndrome
  • Subclavian artery disease
  • Subclavian steal syndrome
  • Vertebrobasilar insufficiency

Lower Extremity

  • Claudication
  • Lower extremity aneurysms
  • Non-healing wounds
  • Peripheral arterial disease
  • Rest pain
  • Venous reflux/insufficiency

Upper Extremity

  • Hemodialysis access
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome
    • Arterial
    • Venous
    • Neurogenic
  • Upper extremity arterial aneurysmal disease
  • Upper extremity arterial occlusive disease

West Tennessee Healthcare (WTH) does not exclude, deny benefits to, or otherwise discriminate against any person on the grounds of race, color, national origin, age, religion, disability, Limited English Proficiency or sex, including discrimination based on gender identity, sexual orientation, sex stereotyping or pregnancy in admission to, participation in, or receipt of the services and benefits under any of its programs and activities, whether carried out by WTH directly or through a contractor or any other entity with which WTH arranges to carry out its programs and activities.

For further information about this policy, contact Amy Garner (731) 541-9914.