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Vascular Surgery

Long-Term Vascular Disease Care

Vascular disease is usually a problem that lasts for months or years. A vascular surgeon is trained in various techniques to remove plaque and blood clots from the arteries. When blood flow to the body is hindered from narrowed arteries it can sometimes be painful, but most forms of vascular disease do not have any noticeable symptoms. This makes it a dangerous condition because life-threatening events like a heart attack or stroke can occur without the patient realizing anything was wrong with them.

A vascular surgery will not necessarily cure the disease completely. These are cumulative conditions that develop over time. A patient needs to make long-term lifestyle changes in order to return their veins to good health. This is why vascular surgeons at Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System create relationships with their patients to help them completely eradicate the disease over time.

Vascular Procedures

Consuming excessive amounts of cholesterol causes a substance referred to as plaque to line the body’s veins and arteries. When plaque builds up too much, it limits the flow of blood in the body, leading to a myriad of health problems. Vascular surgeries are designed to remove plaque and blood clots so the blood can flow freely again. There are a few different ways to do this.

Vascular operations include:

  • Bypass surgery – When a vein or artery is heavily damaged, rather than attempting to fix the vein or artery, a doctor may remedy the problem by redirecting the flow of blood through healthier veins or arteries.
  • Angioplasty – In this operation a small wire with a balloon is inserted into a blocked artery. The balloon is then inflated, opening up the artery.
  • Rotational atherectomy – In this operation, a thin wire with small blades is inserted into the vein. The blades spin around inside the vein, destroying any plaque.
  • Laser atherectomy – This catheter is equipped with a small laser that goes into the vein and zaps plaque to turn it into gas.
  • Stenting – Removing and widening veins is not always enough to keep them healthy. To ensure the passageway stays open, surgeons often implant a stent in the artery. This is a small, mesh tube that keeps the artery walls wide open for better blood flow.

Many vascular operations are minimally invasive, meaning the surgeon does not have to cut the patient wide open. After the procedure, it is highly recommended that patients continue working with a medical professional to create a diet and exercise plan that will improve vascular health.