What is a Vascular Surgeon / Phlebologist?

Vascular surgeons are specialists who are highly trained to treat diseases of the vascular system. Your blood vessels arteries carrying oxygen-rich blood and veins carrying blood back to the heart are the roadways of your circulatory system.

What Does a Vascular Surgeon Do?

Vascular surgeons use treatments that range from noninvasive procedures to complicated surgeries. They treat arteries and veins in all parts of the body except for the heart and brain, which are handled by other specialists.

Vascular surgeons are primarily concerned with matching the person to the best treatment option available. In many cases, surgery isn’t the best solution.

What Conditions Does a Vascular Surgeon Treat?

Vascular surgeons treat many different conditions, including: 

  • Aneurysm: a bulge or a weak spot in an artery
  • Atherosclerosis: when plaque builds up inside arteries and could lead to blocked blood flow
  • Carotid artery disease: narrowing of the arteries in the neck
  • Deep vein thrombosis: a blood clot in a vein deep inside your body, such as in your leg
  • Peripheral artery disease: narrowing of the arteries in your arms or legs
  • Spider veins: small webs of veins inside the skin
  • Damage to blood vessels after an injury
  • Varicose veins: swollen and twisted veins that cause pain in your legs

Reasons to See a Vascular Surgeon

Your primary care physician may refer you to a vascular surgeon if you have a health problem that involves your blood vessels. Sometimes, it may be because of a symptom that could be a sign of a vascular problem. For example, pain in your legs may mean you have peripheral artery disease. 

Also, people with conditions that can affect their blood vessels, like diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and those who smoke, may benefit from seeing a vascular specialist for a screening.

What to Expect at the Vascular Surgeon

At your first appointment, your vascular surgeon will ask about your medical and family history. Bring a list of your current medications and medical conditions. You should also bring any recent blood work results and diagnostic tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound studies, or computed tomography (CT) scans. 

You should wear comfortable clothing that is easy to change out of, since you may need to change into a gown.

After discussing your history, the vascular surgeon will perform an exam in any areas where you’re having problems. They will diagnose your condition and recommend an appropriate treatment plan. It may include further tests, lifestyle changes, medication, surgery, or a combination of any of these. 

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