Vascular surgery treats diseases of the vascular system including your arteries, veins and lymphatic vessels.

Patients requiring vascular surgery suffer from many different vascular disorders that adversely affect their quality of life. These include carotid artery disease, abdominal aortic aneurysm, peripheral arterial disease, thoracic outlet syndrome, varicose veins, lymphatic disorders, excessive sweating and deep vein thrombosis.

Patients requiring vascular surgery may need urgent or planned treatment. As vascular disease is a chronic condition, treatment can be ongoing.

Vascular surgeons see and treat many patients who don’t require surgery. Some patients require investigations. Often patients need healthy lifestyle advice including a suitable diet, regular exercise and stopping smoking, combined with appropriate medication to help prevent a future heart attack or stroke.

Frequently, vascular surgery involves minimally invasive or endovascular surgery with the aim of restoring normal blood flow. This can include angioplasty where narrowed or obstructed arteries are widened and inserting stents to keep the vessels open. Open vascular surgery is required for some patients.

What is vascular surgery

Vascular surgery is a branch of medicine that specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of blood vessel diseases.

Vascular surgeons are experts in diseases of the arteries, veins and lymphatic vessels. They treat all parts of your vascular system excluding the heart and the brain.

Vascular surgery is performed to maintain the function of your body’s circulatory system.

Why would you need vascular surgery?

Vascular surgeons treat a wide variety of conditions including:

  • Carotid Artery Disease (CAD) – is also called carotid artery stenosis. Plaque builds up inside your carotid arteries that carry blood to your neck and head and can cause a stroke.
  • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) - an enlargement or “bulge” that develops in a weakened area within the largest artery (aortic) in your abdomen. It can lead to rupture and death.
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) - a common circulatory problem where narrowed arteries reduce blood flow usually to your legs and sometimes your arms. It can lead to a leg amputation.
  • Varicose Veins – where veins become swollen and enlarged, usually on your legs and feet. They can be painful and look unsightly.
  • Excessive Sweating (Hyperhidrosis) – your body sweats more than normal, even when you’re not hot or have been exercising.
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) - caused by a clot within a vein, usually in your leg. It happens when blood is static for too long due to a period of immobility, such as after surgery or on a long-haul flight, or in situations where the blood is prone to coagulation.

What is done in a vascular surgery?

Some of the main vascular surgery procedures are:

  • Carotid Artery Surgery / Endarterectomy – a fatty plaque build-up in your artery is surgically removed as it is restricting your blood supply. Endarterectomy is performed on your carotid arteries that supply your head and neck, to prevent a stroke. It is also used for diseased femoral arteries, which supply blood to your legs.
  • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Repair – replaces the diseased aorta with an artificial graft to prevent an aneurysm rupturing. It can be performed using open surgery in your abdomen or by keyhole endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR) surgery through small cuts in each groin. EVAR is less invasive and recovery is faster, but there is a low risk of later complications.
  • Thrombectomy / Embolectomy – removes a blood clot or debris from your artery to prevent a very dangerous blockage called an embolus that could obstruct blood flow to vital organs or to your limbs.
  • Thoracic Endovascular Aortic Repair (TEVAR) – similar to AAA repair but for defects higher up in your aorta, in the chest cavity. TEVAR is needed if your aneurysm extends from your chest cavity into your abdomen.
  • Angioplasty and stenting – minimally invasive technique to open up a narrowed artery. Often used to treat PAD and CAD. A thin plastic tube (catheter) with a balloon on the end is inserted into your groin artery where the blockage is. The balloon is inflated to open up the narrowing artery and restore blood flow.
  • Bypass Grafts - an alternative to angioplasty. The diseased artery section is bypassed by sewing an artificial graft into the vessels above and below the blockage. It creates a new clear route for blood to flow through. There are different types of bypasses depending on where the blocked artery is located.
  • Varicose Vein Surgery – problematic or unsightly varicose veins that are not resolving by conservative methods, such as compression stockings, can be treated with surgery. This is done using a heat source to close your vein (laser or radiofrequency ablation) or by injecting a medicine to shrink your vein (sclerotherapy).
  • Thoracoscopic Sympathectomy – divides or cuts your sympathetic nerves that control your sweat glands in your hands, face and armpits to stop sweating.

What are the costs of a vascular surgery?

The costs of a vascular surgery will depend on the condition you are diagnosed with, the exact of surgery required and your Ramsay hospital of choice.

You will receive a formal quotation price after your consultation with one of our expert vascular surgeons. This formal quote for your surgery will be valid for 60 days. You can rest-assured that it includes unlimited aftercare.

We have a number of finance options if you are paying for your surgery yourself. These include:

  • Interest-free finance - no deposit required and the option to make monthly instalments at 0% interest.
  • All-inclusive Total Care - a one-off payment for all the treatment you need at a pre-agreed price.
  • Pay as you go – a flexible funding option if your treatment costs are difficult to assess or you want to pay for your treatment costs as and when they arise.

Vascular surgery is covered by most medical insurance policies, unless it is varicose vein treatment for cosmetic reasons. We advise that you obtain written confirmation from your insurance company before having your vascular scan.

What is the recovery process of a vascular surgery?

The recovery process of a vascular surgery will depend on your condition and the surgery you are having done.

If you have an endovascular (minimally invasive) surgery your recovery will be much quicker than if you have open vascular surgery when you may need time in the intensive care unit and the hospital.

Some varicose vein procedures are performed on an outpatient basis and you can go home a few hours after your surgery.

Angioplasty and stenting are often performed on a day case basis so you go home the same day.

Open abdominal aortic aneurysm repair surgery is a major operation. Most patients recover in the intensive care unit after the surgery and stay in hospital for five to ten days. Full recovery may take two or three months.

You will be invited for a follow-up appointment to check your recovery and to offer lifestyle advice and support.

Vascular surgery at Ramsay Health Care

Here at Ramsay Health Care, we offer a wide array of vascular services to diagnose and treat blood vessel disorders.

We offer convenience, comfort and personalised attention. What is more, leading vascular surgeons with specialised experience in all aspects of vascular and lymph conditions work as part of a multidisciplinary team to ensure the best possible patient care. They work closely with specialists in vascular medicine, heart conditions (cardiovascular medicine), nervous system conditions (neurology), physical medicine and rehabilitation, and imaging (radiology).

They perform the latest vascular and endovascular surgical techniques in our state-of-the-art facilities. Your vascular surgeon will discuss with you all of the suitable treatment options and together, you'll choose the approach that's best for your situation. Often minimally invasive procedures are performed. They generally have excellent outcomes and rapid recovery.

Our expert vascular surgeons carry out balloon angioplasty and complex stenting procedures, blood clot removal and bypass surgery. They treat conditions including peripheral artery disease, aortic aneurysm disease, carotid artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, varicose veins and excessive sweating.

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