Frequently Asked Questions
What is Vascular Disease?
Your vascular system is made up of vessels (arteries, veins and lymphatics) that carry blood and lymph throughout your body. Vascular disease results from blockages of the arteries that carry blood to and from the heart. Arteries carry oxygen rich blood from the heart to the brain, internal organs and muscles of the arms and legs. Once the muscles and tissues have used the oxygen, the veins then carry all of the oxygen depleted blood back to the heart and lungs to get oxygenated again. These blockages are caused by a buildup of plaque and cholesterol. As we age our arteries tend to get stiffer and narrower. This is called arteriosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is the build up of plaque and cholesterol in the arteries. A narrowing (stenosis) of these arteries from the buildup of the plaque can lead to heart disease, stroke and vascular disease.
Most commonly recognized arterial vascular diseases are abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), Carotid Artery Disease (stroke) and Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD). Venous diseases can include varicose veins, swelling of the legs, clot in the legs as well as venous ulcers. When patients have issues with their lymphatics they can end up with swollen legs and recurrent infections. This is called Lymphedema which occurs when fluids build up in the soft tissues, most often in your legs. The lymphatic system is made up of lymph vessels and nodes that run throughout your body. The vessels filter waste materials and return the fluids back to your blood vessels via lymphatic channels.
Who needs to see a vascular surgeon?
A vascular surgeon is a highly trained physician who manages patients with all forms of vascular diseases, so almost any patient may have occasion to see such a specialist.
Patients with aneursyms in the chest, abdomen or extremities
Patients with PAD
Patients with carotid disease/ blockage in the carotid artery in the neck for stroke prevention and treatment.
Patients who have kidney failure/disease who require dialysis access procedures
Patients with varicose veins, spider veins or leg ulcers caused by venous disease
Patients with lymphatic problems
Vascular surgeons are the only physicians who can offer all forms of treatment including medical management, minimally invasive procedures as well as open procedures best suited to a patient’s medical need.
What should I bring to my visit with the doctor?
It is important that you are prepared for your visit with the vascular surgeon. A good family history, any test results, list of medications and a list of any medical problems/ surgeries. Carefully describe any symptoms you may be experiencing regarding your vascular disease. Tell the physician how long your symptoms have been present, when and where they occur and how severe they are.
What kind of testing is available for the vascular patient?
Vascular disease can be identified/diagnosed with non-invasive vascular ultrasound in the office setting or through CT scans or MRA scans in a hospital/diagnostic radiology centers. The test will be ordered based on physical examination findings, symptoms at presentation, bloodwork and family history. For the patients convenience we offer ultrasound testing in the office setting. Ultrasound tests require a prescription from your primary medical doctor or from our vascular surgeon.
Please call for an appointment.