What is a Vascular Surgeon and When Do I Need One?

Updated: Nov 24, 2019

A vascular surgeon is someone who treats disease processes within the arteries and veins, those critical routes of the circulatory system. Vascular surgeons do not treat the heart or brain as those are specialty areas of cardiologists and neurologists.

Since many of the disease processes treated are the result of hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), vascular surgeons are well schooled in the management of this disease wherever it may occur in the body.

Are you familiar with varicose and spider veins? Vascular surgeons are the specialists best trained to manage these issues as they are manifestations of vascular disease.

Providing methods for patients with kidney failure to receive life-saving hemodialysis is another expertise of most vascular surgeons.

The most common disease processes treated by a board-certified vascular surgeon will be circulatory problems (peripheral artery disease or PAD), stroke prevention (carotid artery disease), abdominal aortic aneurysms, and varicose veins.

When Should I See a Vascular Surgeon?

Due to the different conditions a vascular surgeon treats, the reasons to see one can vary greatly. Usually, seeing a vascular surgeon begins with a referral from a primary care physician, however other specialists can refer someone if they believe the issue to be vascular related.

There are a few risk factors linked to vascular disease which can make someone more susceptible, such as cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, lack of exercise and obesity. Family history, age and gender also can increase one’s risk for vascular disease.

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