What is a Vascular Surgeon?

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What is a Vascular Surgeon?

Your body consists of an immeasurable number of arteries, veins, and lymphatic vessels which carry blood and lymph between the heart and the rest of y

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Your body consists of an immeasurable number of arteries, veins, and lymphatic vessels which carry blood and lymph between the heart and the rest of your body. Together, these comprise the total blood vessels, stretching to around 100 000 kilometres! This network of blood vessels makes up your vascular system. A vascular surgeon is a highly trained specialist who treats a wide range of diseases of the vascular system.

The vascular system carries the responsibility of transporting blood from the heart to the many different parts of the body and then back to the heart. Every single part of your body, from your limbs to your organs, to the muscles and even your skin, needs a steady flow of blood to operate. A fault in any of these can cause several problems, ranging from minor issues like varicose and spider veins to heart attacks and strokes.

If you’re dealing with problems with the blood vessels, getting in touch with a vascular surgeon in Melbourne is imperative to get help before your condition worsens.

What does a Vascular Surgeon do?

A vascular surgeon trains for years to diagnose and manage diseases affecting all parts of the vascular system. A vascular surgeon treats patients in an inpatient and outpatient setting. Their services range from recommending lifestyle changes, through to operating on blood vessels with complicated surgery.

What conditions does a Vascular Surgeon treat?

A vascular surgeon can help treat several conditions, such as:

  • Peripheral Vascular Disease:

A slow and progressive disease that affects the body’s vascular system, Peripheral Vascular Disease or PVD is usually caused by atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is the thickening or narrowing of arteries due to a buildup of fat or plaque inside the artery, preventing blood from flowing freely. This narrowing of arteries can result in several issues, such as high blood pressure, strokes, gangrene and major amputations.

A vascular surgeon can help you slow down its progression by recommending optimal medical management with medications and lifestyle changes based on your circumstances.

  • Aneurysms:

An aneurysm is a condition where a blood vessel enlarges like a balloon and is at risk of bursting. This can happen in several locations in the body, and can be life-threatening if not detected and treated.

  • Carotid Arterial Disease:

Carotid Arterial Disease occurs when plaque buildup blocks the blood flow in a blood vessel that supplies the brain. The plaque can dislodge and block blood flow to the brain, causing a stroke and possible irreversible paralysis. A vascular surgeon may perform a carotid endarterectomy on the main arteries in the neck. This preventative surgery removes plaque buildup, allowing blood flow to flow freely to the brain and prevent stroke.

  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT):

A condition where a blood clot forms in a venous blood vessel, usually in one leg, DVT is rarely a life-threatening condition. However, if it progresses to a pulmonary embolism (PE), where a blood clot breaks off, makes its way to the lungs and blocks off the blood supply, this can be life-threatening. DVT can also result in post-thrombotic syndrome, where the blood clot causes aching and swelling in the legs, skin changes and ulcers. This is why it is essential to treat DVT.

A vascular surgeon will work closely with a haematologist to offer management strategies and treatment for DVT.

  • Varicose and Spider Veins

If you’ve noticed the appearance of bulging, purplish veins on the skin of one or both legs, a vascular surgeon’s the one to go to. Varicose and spider veins are relatively common, affecting over 30% of the Australian population. For some people, these may only be cosmetic issues, but for others, it could cause significant aching, itching, swelling and possible chronic ulcers of the legs. This is why you should ask for a referral to a vascular surgeon for varicose vein treatment.

  • Surgical operations:

In addition to prescribing medication and conducting minor operative procedures, a vascular surgeon also performs significant surgeries such as:

  • Angiograms, Angioplasties and Stenting – to open blocked arteries
  • Stent grafts – to treat aneurysms
  • Renal access procedures for people who require dialysis
  • Diabetic foot ulcers – diabetes predisposes to peripheral vascular disease and often this requires intervention by a vascular surgeon, and
  • Bypass operations.

When looking for artery or varicose vein treatment in Melbourne, ask your GP to refer you to a vascular surgeon in Melbourne to get specialised help for your condition.

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