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Vascular Surgery in Anderson, SC

Many people immediately think of heart surgery when hearing the term vascular surgery. While that is true, vascular and endovascular surgeries involve the entire vascular system. This could be cardiovascular, which deals with the heart; peripheral vascular, which deals with the legs; and cerebrovascular, which involves the brain. 


What is Vascular and Endovascular Surgery?


Vascular surgery is traditionally an invasive surgery that treats conditions affecting the arteries, veins, and lymphatic vessels. 


Endovascular surgery is a less invasive procedure that also treats conditions affecting the blood vessels, and it’s usually performed through a needle puncture and sheath. Endovascular surgery procedures usually only require two small incisions in the groin area, and they do not take as long as a standard vascular surgery. During the surgery, an endovascular graft is inserted through the arteries and positioned inside the aorta, where it remains permanently. Compared to vascular surgery, endovascular surgery usually has less discomfort, a shorter recovery period, local or regional anesthesia, smaller incisions, and less stress on the heart.


In some cases, we do not recommend standard endovascular surgery, depending on certain criteria. In these cases, we may suggest open surgery, complex endovascular repair, or no treatment at all. Our vascular surgery team in Anderson will provide the best guidance based on the health, condition, and alternative treatment options of the patient.


Types of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery


Carotid stenting – These procedures open clogged arteries that affect blood flow to the brain and are often performed to prevent strokes. Typically, a tiny balloon or stent is inserted in the clogged artery, which is then inflated or expanded to widen the area and increases blood flow to the brain.


Lower extremity bypass surgeries – These procedures reroute the blood supply around a blocked artery in your leg. A graft is used to replace or bypass the blocked part of the artery.


Subclavian stenting – The subclavian arteries are a pair of arteries that supply blood to the head, neck, shoulder and arms. If one of these arteries becomes blocked, stenting or angioplasty may be necessary. In the case of stenting, a small wire mesh tube is used to keep open a subclavian artery that has be narrowed due to that is used to hold open a sublcavian artery that has been narrowed by atherosclerosis.


Renal and visceral artery stenting – If your renal artery becomes blocked during to a narrowing of the renal artery (renal artery stenosis), renal stenting can open the blockage and restore normal blood flow.


Lower extremity angioplasty, atherectomy and stenting – These procedures open narrowed or blocked blood vessels that supply blood to your legs. If fatty deposits build up inside of the arteries in your legs to the point blood flow is blocked, our surgeons can perform procedures to keep the artery open.


Lower extremity bypass surgeries – Peripheral artery bypasses reroute the blood supply around a blocked artery in one of your legs. Fatty deposits can build up inside the arteries and block them. A graft is used to replace or bypass the blocked part of the artery.


Open or endovascular aneurysm repair – An aneurysm occurs when the wall of a blood vessel bulges or balloons. As the aneurysm enlarges, the walls of the blood vessel stretch, sometimes to the point of bursting. Repair of an abdominal aortic aneurysm may be performed surgically through an open incision or in a minimally-invasive procedure called endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR).


When is Vascular Surgery Needed?


Recommendations for vascular surgery depend upon the patient’s condition and the disease’s severity. If vascular disease is diagnosed fairly early, we may be able to create a treatment plan avoids surgery. If there are indications that the blood flow is interrupted to the muscles or tissue, however, surgery may be needed to alleviate pain or to increase mobility. In some cases, vascular surgery is required to avoid the possibility of a heart attack or stroke.


Once a patient begins to experience symptoms of vascular disease, vascular surgery becomes a consideration. These symptoms include: pain in the buttocks; a numbness, tingling or weakness in the legs; burning or aching toes in the feet or toes while at rest; sores on the legs or feet that will not heal; scaly skin; a loss of hair on the legs; or one or both feet or legs either feeling cold or changing color.


Conditions treated during vascular surgery include:

  • Aortic aneurysm repair

  • Aortic dissection

  • Aortic ulcers

  • Aortic valve disease

  • Arteriosclerosis

  • Atherosclerosis

  • Arterovenous fistula

  • Angioplasty

  • Atherectomy

  • Blood clots

  • Bypass surgery

  • Carotid artery reconstruction

  • Chylothorax

  • Chylous complications

  • Chylous effusions

  • Critical lim ischemia

  • Deep venous thrombosis treatment

  • Deep vein occlusions

  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome

  • Fibromuscular dysplasia

  • Intestina ischeia

  • Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome

  • Lymphedema

  • Marfan syndrome

  • Median arcuate ligament syndrome

  • Nutcracker syndrome

  • Pelvic congestion syndrome

  • Peripheral artery disease

  • Popliteal artery aneurysm

  • Renal aneurysms

  • Takayasu’s arteritis

  • Thoracic outlet syndrome

  • Thrombophlebitis

  • Varicocele

  • Varicose veins

  • Vascular infections

  • Vascular malformations

  • Venous diseases

  • Venous leg swelling

  • Venous tumors

  • Venous ulcers

  • Vertebral artery disease

Vascular Surgery Risks


With any surgery – especially one that operates on a major blood vessel or the chest – there are risks involved. Our doctors recommend vascular surgery when you cannot be treated with a procedure that does not involve surgery, or the problem cannot be eliminated with a less invasive solution. 


Many people worry about the chance of infection, which is always possible, especially when incisions are being made. The health of the patient is also a concern, and those who smoke, have kidney or chronic lung disease, or high blood pressure have greater risk. 


Additional risks of vascular surgery include:

  • Failed or grafts being blocked

  • Swelling of the leg, if a vein is used

  • Heart attack or stroke

  • Excessive bleeding

  • Brain impairment for individuals over 65 years of age

Success Rate of Vascular Surgery


The success of vascular surgery depends on a number of factors. The probability of an aneurysm rupturing increases with size: Aneurysms smaller than 4 centimeters in diameter have a 2% risk of rupturing, while those larger than 5 centimeters have a 22% risk within two years. Patients undergoing arterial bypass surgery and peripheral bypass surgery have very good success rates, but patients who have surgery for an already-ruptured aneurysm have a limited success rate.

 

Technology helps improve the success rate, but some human factors can decrease it. If patients do not follow their recommended treatment plan or if they continue to follow their former regimen, the likelihood of complications or death becomes greater.

  

Preparing for Vascular Surgery


Vascular surgery procedures should not be taken lightly. Once it has been determined that vascular surgery is the preferred treatment, a thorough physical exam will follow. Our team takes every precaution to ensure the patient is aware of what will happen and what to expect. It is important to be mentally and physically prepared for the procedure and recovery. To help that process, we offer our patients a tour of the facility, and we follow up with with pre-care testing and instructions.


We take the time to discuss current medications, in case any of them should be stopped before surgery. Our team also discusses options for blood replacement if needed, including donating your blood prior to the surgery. Some patients may be asked to lose weight prior to surgery. Any infections will be taken into account as well, and any new infections should be reported immediately. An evaluation of all organs will be done to make sure the patient is a good candidate for the surgery. Our high-risk patients are usually given beta blockers one to two weeks prior to surgery that will continue for two weeks after the surgery.


We recommend all patients eat a well-balanced diet and take a multivitamin with iron. Patients who smoke should stop to reduce risks during surgery and to improve recovery. Our team also asks patients to create a plan to have someone available to assist them with daily tasks for a certain length of time. A stable chair with a firm seat cushion, back, and arms should be accessible at home once the surgery is over. A leave of absence from work may be required, and we will assist in completing the Family Leave and Medical Act (FLMA) paperwork. A Power of Attorney (POA) for healthcare may also be a consideration.

 

What to Expect


Every vascular surgery is different. Asking specific questions can help you understand what to expect before, during, and after your surgery. There are some commonalities between experiences, however. On surgery day, you should not have had anything to eat or drink. When you arrive, our team will greet you and make sure things go smoothly. You will be checked in and prepared for surgery. Please don’t wear jewelry, perfumes, or colognes.


The doctor and anesthesiologist will stop by to make sure you are doing well, and to answer any questions you may have prior to the surgery. It’s better to ask questions about the process before surgery than after. Once you are given the anesthesia and come out of sedation, you may feel groggy and in pain.


You can expect to have:

  • One or more small incisions for endovascular surgery, as this is a minimally invasion procedure

  • A chest incision, if open-heart surgery is being performed

  • A leg incision, if arteries need to be accessed or vessels for heart surgery


Once the surgery is completed, you will be taken to the intensive care unit (ICU), where your pain and recovery process will be carefully monitored. Medication will be administered per doctor’s orders. The amount of time needed in the hospital and recovery varies by patient. 

 

Once stable, you will be transferred to a standard hospital room and ready to accept family and friends for visitation. It is normal for vascular surgery patients to remain in the hospital between four to ten days, depending on the type of surgery and recovery progression. Complications that arise may increase the hospital stay. Your meals will be monitored by a dietician during this time, as well as your medications to make sure they are working properly.


Recovering from Vascular Surgery


Before being discharged, you will meet with our team to review your initial treatment plan, as well information about your next visit with our doctors. You will need someone to drive you home after the surgery, as patients cannot operate a motor vehicle for at least 24 hours. On the way home, you should not eat or drink anything, as it could cause nausea or vomiting. The first meal should be light. If surgery was performed on an elbow, hand, knee, or leg, this area should be elevated and iced as prescribed to alleviate pain and swelling. Your incision may be sore for several days.

You will receive instructions from our team about continuing the recovery process at home. Your body dictates the recovery process after vascular surgery. It may take months for a full recovery, and everyone’s recovery timeline is different. You will be given instructions on your cardiac rehabilitation to get you moving around. It is very important to follow all treatment recommended by our team to ensure the best outcome. A typical rehabilitation program lasts anywhere from four to 12 weeks, three sessions a week. Every treatment plan is tailored to the patient and their specific needs.

The cardiac rehabilitation program will have a mix of:

  • Monitored exercise: This personalized plan of exercise will increase your movement and functioning. 

  • Medication management: Follow the recommended medication plan that’s been designed to work with the treatment and rehabilitation plan.

  • Nutrition counseling: Our dieticians help you create a plan that encourages healthy eating that incorporates foods you enjoy. 

  • Education: It’s important to fully understand your heart condition and how to effectively implement lifestyle changes that will allow you to maintain good health after surgery.


Your cardiac rehabilitation team may include a multidisciplinary group of specialists: your cardiac care provider, cardiac nurses, nutritionists, physical therapist, occupational therapist, psychologist or counselor, and social workers. Our team collaborates and communicates closely with each other to help you recover as smoothly and as quickly as possible.

 

Life After Vascular Surgery


Individuals can live fully and well after having vascular surgery, as long as the treatment plan is followed. One of the most important things is to exercise regularly and eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet. Proper education and healthy lifestyle habits are key. Studies show that there may be a higher risk and impact of stroke after vascular surgery. Lifestyle changes and modifications, both mentally and physically are a determining factor in a successful outcome.


This is about more than the day of surgery. Our team remains fully involved in the pre- and post-care of our patients. Having a team that is fully invested in your health will help you achieve successful outcomes and an improved quality of life.


Why AnMed Health?


At AnMed Health, we offer a state-of-the-art surgical care center, imaging and laboratory services. Our vascular medicine surgeons specialize in the care of your circulatory system outside of your heart, including your veins, arteries and lymphatic system. AnMed Health’s vascular medicine physicians offer the latest techniques that result in better outcome for our patients.