Offering High-Level Expertise to Manage and Treat Complex Diseases of the Veins and Arteries
Vascular surgery today encompasses an ever-expanding number of minimally invasive procedures. As part of an academic medical practice, SLUCare vascular surgeons are at the forefront of the development, testing and use of these techniques, offering advanced care for hard-to-treat diseases affecting the veins and arteries.
SLUCare vascular surgeons offer a full spectrum of care, including treatment of cerebrovascular disease, aneurysm, peripheral arterial disease (PAD), diabetic foot ulcers and problems with blood flow to the intestines or kidneys. Surgeons also treat vein diseases such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), varicose veins, spider veins, and venous reflux. Our team uses the latest technologies, including minimally invasive endovascular procedures (performed inside blood vessels), and when needed, open surgery for complex conditions.
Our vascular surgeons work as a team with experts in nephrology, interventional radiology, cardiac surgery and other specialists to provide comprehensive care for each patient's unique needs.
SLUCare vascular surgeons treat aneurysms of the aorta and circulatory system. Though open surgery may still be required for some patients, the majority of aneurysms in the abdomen and chest can be treated with newer minimally invasive techniques called endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR). These procedures typically require a 1-2 day hospital stay and may be performed with just two small incisions in the groin. We offer the latest technologies, including fenestrated and branched endografts (specialized stents placed through a small catheter), to treat aortic aneurysms that would have previously required open surgery. Our physicians engage in clinical trials to study the latest technology in treatment of aortic aneurysms.
Carotid artery disease occurs when the arteries supplying blood to the brain become narrowed or blocked, resulting in hardening of the arteries or stroke. The disease is detected through an ultrasound screening, recommended for individuals age 65 and older with a history of smoking and cardiovascular disease.
SLUCare vascular surgeons perform procedures to open the carotid artery to maintain blood flow and prevent stroke. Different treatments for carotid artery disease include:
- Carotid endarterectomy (CEA) — In this surgery, an incision is made in the patient's neck giving the surgeon access to remove the plaque buildup inside the artery and restore proper blood flow. This procedure has been used for decades to safely and effectively prevent stroke.
- Carotid artery stenting and angioplasty — A less invasive procedure for treating hardening of the arteries, the vascular surgeon inserts a catheter into an artery in the groin, then uses X-ray imaging to guide the catheter to the location of the blockage. The surgeon then inflates a tiny balloon to reopen the clogged artery while putting into place a stent to keep the artery open.
- Transcarotid artery revascularization (TCAR) — The newest treatment option for carotid artery disease, TCAR is less invasive than carotid endarterectomy, making this procedure a better choice for some high-risk patients. Through a tiny incision just above the collarbone, the vascular surgeon inserts a tube into the carotid artery that guides the blood flow away from the brain and into a system that filters away the plaque before returning the blood to the body via a tube in the thigh. While the blood is diverted, the surgeon inserts a stent, reopening the carotid artery before removing the filter and restoring normal blood flow. Because TCAR is minimally invasive, recovery time is faster and patients typically go home the next day.
SLUCare vascular surgeons are experts in treating blood clots in the legs. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) may occur suddenly or persist over time. When a clot is relatively new, our surgeons can break up the clot using special catheters and clot-busting medication. If needed, we may insert a stent to keep the vein open and the blood flowing back toward the heart. Over time, a DVT may damage the valves in your veins, preventing blood from flowing backwards away from your heart. This can lead to chronic problems, such as leg swelling and heaviness. These issues may be managed through non-surgical measures, such as medical-grade compression socks or blood thinners. However, some patients may benefit from imaging of the vein to further localize the problem and treat it.
In our vein clinic at the University Tower, we offer a full spectrum of treatment for venous diseases including leg swelling, spider veins, varicose veins, venous reflux, and deep vein thrombosis. Our team is one of the first in St. Louis to offer the VenaSeal closure system, which is a quicker procedure with a faster recovery after endovenous ablation.
SLUCare vascular surgeons are leaders in treatment of advanced peripheral vascular disease, also known as peripheral arterial disease (PAD) or hardening of the arteries in the legs and feet. We offer minimally invasive options and bypass procedures to treat this complex condition. Our doctors engage in clinical trials to determine the best PAD treatment options. In addition, we offer the latest technology for treatment of complex wounds to preserve limbs and quality of life.
Mesenteric arteries supply blood to the intestines. If these arteries become narrowed (hardened) or blocked by a blood clot and blood flow is restricted, the intestines may be permanently damaged. Arteries to the kidneys can also become narrowed, restricting blood flow and raising blood pressure. Both conditions are dangerous and require medical intervention. Using the latest stenting procedures, SLUCare vascular surgeons can open these arteries and restore blood flow to the intestines and kidneys.
SLUCare vascular surgeons offer the latest testing procedures for vascular disease, including:
- Non-invasive evaluation with duplex/color flow imaging for diagnosis of carotid artery disease
- Evaluation for acute and chronic vein disease
- Doppler evaluation of arterial disease in the legs
- Angiography of all peripheral vascular and vein disease (PVD)