Vascular Surgery

The Road to Better Vascular Health

When detected early, many vascular conditions can be managed with medication or exercise. However, there are health issues that require vascular surgery. Our board-certified cardiac and vascular physicians will ensure you understand your vascular condition and options. They specialize in treatments of every kind of vascular problem.

What Is Vascular Surgery?

Vascular surgery refers to treatments for the disorders of the arteries, veins and lymph vessels. They are performed on the aorta, arteries and veins in the neck, abdomen, pelvis, legs and arms, excluding the heart and the brain.

Why Might I Need Vascular Surgery?

Vascular disease may be caused by aging or a family history of heart disease. Whatever the cause, there are many solutions. Suppose your condition doesn’t get better with medications (e.g., blood thinners, clot-dissolving drugs), lifestyle changes (e.g., quitting smoking, getting more exercise or controlling diabetes) or other nonsurgical procedures (e.g., angioplasty, stenting and vein ablation). In that case, your doctor may recommend vascular surgery. Vascular surgery may be necessary to treat the following conditions:

  • Aneurysm
  • Blood clots
  • Carotid artery disease
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Renal artery occlusive disease
  • Trauma
  • Vein disease

Vascular Surgeons at Hilton Head Hospital

Vascular surgeons perform surgeries involving blood and lymphatic vessels, excluding coronary and intracranial arteries and veins. Aside from vascular surgeons, general surgeons and critical care (trauma) surgeons also perform surgeries involving the arteries, veins and lymph vessels.

Examples of vascular surgeries include:

  • Carotid Artery Surgery: A vascular doctor performs this surgery to restore normal blood flow to prevent a stroke.
  • Lower limb revascularization: There are two ways to perform this procedure: via incisions in the leg and using endovascular surgery techniques to avoid long incisions. Vascular doctors also use these items to open blood flow: balloons, stents and atherectomy devices.
  • Endovascular aneurysm repair: A vascular surgery procedure to fix an aortic aneurysm. This vascular procedure involves a catheter through the arteries until it reaches the aorta and expands the graft inside the aneurysm.
  • Treatment of varicose veins: Using less invasive procedures, vascular doctors may suggest endovenous laser therapy or radiofrequency ablation to collapse affected veins. This vascular procedure is less invasive than vein stripping surgery.
  • Limb amputations: Amputations may be necessary when wounds do not heal or turn black or die, also known as gangrene. This condition may be considered an emergency, mainly when an infection occurs. Sometimes, limb amputation is the only cure for pain caused by poor blood flow when all methods have been unsuccessful.

Types of Vascular Surgery

Both open vascular and endovascular surgeries are used by our vascular specialists to treat vascular conditions.

  • Open Vascular Surgery
    A more traditional approach involves a larger incision to access the treatment area. It is also required in many cases to repair and remove diseased tissue. Complications of open vascular surgery may include:
    • Allergic or other reactions to the anesthetics
    • Bleeding
    • Blood clot
    • Heart attack or arrhythmia
    • Infection of the graft
    • Injury to the bowel, kidneys or spinal cord
    • Lung problems
  • Endovascular Surgery
    Endovascular surgery has more advantages, such as a shorter recovery time and less risk of complications, because it requires a smaller or just one incision to access the treatment area. Just like any other surgery, endovascular surgery also has risks of complications, though not as high as open vascular surgery. Complications may include:
    • Blocked or fractured graft
    • Leaking of blood around the graft
    • Graft movement
    • Infection at the incision site
    • Damage to surrounding blood vessels or organs
    • Fever
    • Rarely, a busts artery, aneurysm rupture, kidney damage or paralysis

    Please go to the nearest vascular surgery center or vascular surgery hospital or call your doctor if you experience the following symptoms after your surgery:

  • Fever or chills
  • Bleeding or drainage from your incision site
  • Increased pain

How to Prepare Before Vascular Surgery

Before surgery, your doctor or your nurse will give you clear instructions on what to do and what not to do before your surgery, and some of them may be:

  • Possibly stopping some medications such as blood thinners
  • Not eating or drinking anything for at least 8 hours before the surgery
  • Not taking aspirin one week before surgery
  • Not shaving the surgical site for at least two days before the surgery

Vascular Surgery Recovery

After open vascular surgery, you may be asked to stay at the hospital for 5-10 days before recovering at home for three months.

After endovascular surgery, you may be asked to stay at the hospital for 2-3 days before recovering for 4-6 weeks at home. For a graft surgery to repair an aneurysm, you may be asked to follow up with your vascular doctor to monitor if the graft is functioning well.

Vascular Surgery at Hilton Head Hospital

Hilton Head Hospital uses some of the latest technology to deliver quality, comprehensive care to our patients with diseases of the vascular system – the arteries and veins. Whether you need physiologic arterial testing or treatment of arterial blockage, you can trust our vascular physicians at Hilton Head Hospital for your total vascular health. They have the knowledge, expertise and resources to provide the proper treatment for your condition.

Insurances Accepted

We offer flexible payment plans for most treatments and procedures if you’re delaying your heart care because you’re worried about the cost.  We highly suggest that all patients familiarize themselves with their insurance company's terms. This will help with understanding the hospital’s billing procedures and charges. Click here to learn more about our insurance plans.

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