Frequently Asked Questions

Vascular Center Experts Answer Frequently Asked Questions

Who performs vascular surgery?

Vascular surgeons are specialist surgeons who operate on blood vessels using open surgical or minimally invasive endovascular techniques.

What kind of qualifications do vascular surgeons have?

Most vascular surgeons complete a general surgery residency and train two more years in a fellowship program specializing only in vascular surgery. A subspecialty certification in vascular surgery is conferred by the American Board of Surgery.

What are the risk factors for atherosclerosis?

Age, male sex, cigarette smoking, diabeteshigh blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, family history, sedentary lifestyle and mental stress are risk factors for atherosclerosis.

What procedures are performed for atherosclerosis?

Narrowing (stenosis) or blockages in arteries may be amenable to minimally invasive endovascular surgery using special balloon-tipped catheters that open up these lesions (angioplasty), or deployment of a stent(s) to keep the arteries patent. Open vascular bypass surgery using a piece of vein or synthetic tube as a conduit can be performed in eligible patients if no endovascular options are available.

What operations are offered for aneurysms?

Aneurysms can be repaired with endovascular or open surgery techniques. Endovascular repair is minimally invasive where small incisions in each groin are used to deploy an endograft across the aneurysm, within the artery. Thoracic or abdominal aortic aneurysms can be treated successfully with endovascular repair. Open surgery can also be used by replacing the aneurysmal portion of the artery with a synthetic graft.

What is the difference between a TIA and a stroke?

Transient ischemic attacks (TIA) are mini-strokes that are caused by platelet aggregates or tiny clots arising from stenoses or plaques in the carotid arteries. The stroke-like symptoms which may include visual disturbances, slurred speech, or weakness in the opposite side of the patient’s body, typically resolve within 24 hours. If the symptoms persist more than 24 hours and especially if further than a week, the cerebrovascular event is likely a stroke, which causes more permanent deficits.

What operations are offered for stroke prevention?

Carotid endarterectomy can be performed whereby the artery is opened and the atherosclerotic plaque removed. The carotid artery is then closed with or without a patch. Alternatively, selected patients can undergo carotid artery stenting to open up severe stenoses in the artery.

What operations are offered for varicose veins?

Minimally invasive endovascular options for varicose veins include radiofrequency or laser ablation. Open surgical treatments include saphenous vein ligation and varicose vein stripping. Sclerotherapy injections can be used for the smaller reticular veins.

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Schedule your appointment with a heart or vascular specialist at University Hospitals:

Office appointment with a cardiologist or vascular surgeon
216-844-3800 or
1-866-UH4-CARE (1-866-844-2273)

Office appointment with a heart surgeon
216-844-4004

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