Vascular Surgery: What It Is

The Surgical Specialty of Vascular Medicine

surgical instruments image
Surgical Instruments. Photo: © Getty Images

Vascular Surgery Explained

There are many different surgical specialties practiced by a variety of surgeons with widely varying skills.  The specialty of vascular surgery is concerned with treating the blood vessels of the body, with the exception of the vessels of the heart and brain.  A vascular surgeon may perform procedures on the arteries and veins of a wide variety of areas of the body, including the arms, legs, organs, and other tissues.

With the exception of the heart and lungs, which are treated by cardiothoracic surgeons and the brain, which is treated by brain surgeons, vascular surgeons typically consider the entirety of the human body to be appropriate for their work.  

Vascular surgeons typically work to restore blood flow to an area of the body after trauma, disease or another issue damages blood vessels.  This may means that they perform a bypass procedure to restore good blood flow to a foot, or they may place an AV shunt for an individual who needs to start dialysis.  For patients who have clogged arteries in their neck, the surgeon may perform a carotid endarterectomy to improve blood flow to the brain.

Vascular Surgery Training

A vascular surgeon typically completes medical school, followed by a general surgery residency of five years, and then a fellowship specializing in vascular medicine before starting independent practice.


Use of the Term Vascular

When the diabetic patient began having trouble with blood flow to her feet, a vascular surgeon was consulted to decide if surgery would help.

Vascular surgery was performed to save the patient's hand after a terrible car crash that severed arteries and veins in the arm.

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