September 15, 2015

Understanding Vascular Surgery

Recently we started a series of videos on vascular care. Vascular surgeons treat diseases of the arteries and veins. It’s a rapidly advancing medical field where many of the procedures used to improve blood flow these days are minimally invasive.

Instead of open surgery, vascular surgeons can run catheters though small incisions to get balloons or stents into the arteries. Patients are often able to go home a few hours after their surgery.

It is fascinating and potentially life-saving medical work, but it can be complicated to explain. The vascular surgeon we interviewed was talking us through a unique procedure to treat abdominal aortic aneurysm. It’s called an endovascular stent graft.

In this procedure, the surgeon uses live x-ray pictures viewed on a video screen to guide a fabric and metal tube to the site of the aneurysm in the aorta. The tube takes the place of the weakened section of the aorta and allows blood to pass easily through it.

With the help of our surgeon and a little research, I was able to boil down an endovascular stent graft into a couple of sentences. But imagine how much easier it would be to understand if you could see it as opposed to only reading about it. And wait until you hear a passionate surgeon explain why he loves doing them.

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