A vascular surgeon is a specialist who works with patients afflicted with diseases of the circulatory and lymphatic systems. Vascular surgeons have board certification from the American Board of Surgery in general surgery. After receiving that certification, they undertake training relevant to their specialty.
What Does a Vascular Surgeon Do?
A vascular surgeon may perform a variety of non-invasive diagnostic tests, procedures involving catheters and open surgery. They can treat people with atherosclerosis, stroke, varicose veins, blood clots, injuries to the vessels and aneurysms.
A vascular surgeon may operate on such patients. They are the only specialists who know how to perform angioplasties and insert stents. Vascular surgeons can also educate their patients on the best way to control their condition through medications, diet and exercise.
When Should Someone See a Vascular Surgeon?
A patient’s primary care doctor or cardiologist will usually refer them to a vascular surgeon. They will do so if the patient has symptoms of vascular disease – or if vascular screening indicates they have such a disease.
Patients who have been diagnosed as having an aneurysm or bulge in an artery, for example, need to see vascular surgeons, for they are the only specialists who know all the methods for treating or monitoring aneurysms. They can also determine if the aneurysm is likely to rupture – which is often the case with abdominal aortic aneurysms.
Other types of aneurysms, like those found in the limbs, can cause blood clots and/or impede circulation. If this type of aneurysm is untreated, the patient may eventually lose the affected limb.
Patients who have been diagnosed with peripheral artery disease (PAD) or carotid artery disease will also usually be referred to a vascular surgeon. Carotid arteries extend from the neck to the brain, and they are the brain’s chief blood supply. If a carotid artery gets blocked, it can cause a stroke. Peripheral artery disease involves the arteries in the limbs, and it usually affects the legs.
What is Vascular Screening?
Vascular screening is a set of tests in which the medical expert uses ultrasound to look for signs of disease in the patient’s arteries. The doctor will screen the patient for PAD, abdominal aortic aneurysm and carotid artery disease/stroke. The tests do not involve drawing blood or exercising, and the patient does not have to disrobe.
A patient’s primary care doctor may recommend vascular screening if they are over 40 years old and have any of the known risk factors of vascular disease. Vascular disease is sometimes described as a “silent threat” because the patient often shows no symptoms until the disease gets quite advanced.
What are the Risk Factors of Vascular Disease?
Vascular disease is most common in people who are between 40 and 70 years old. While men’s risk of developing vascular disease increase at a relatively young age, women’s chances of developing vascular disease increase markedly after they undergo menopause.
Other risk factors associated with vascular disease include diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease. People with a family history of such conditions are at an increased risk of developing vascular disease.
Ensuring Quality Vascular Care at the Miami Vein Center
Our experienced vascular surgeon at the Miami Vein Center is the absolute best person to see for complex venous interventions. In the same way that you should see an obstetrician rather than a general doctor if you are pregnant, people with venous issues should see a surgeon who specializes in endovascular venous surgery.
If you have a venous issue that you’d like to get checked out or treated, visit Dr. Almeida’s office in Miami to learn more about all of our treatment options. Contact us today to schedule your consultation!