Endovascular & Vascular Surgeries
Besides the heart, another major player in the human body is the vascular system, the network of vessels carrying much-needed blood to and from organs, muscles and other tissue. These delicate arteries and veins require a delicate touch – the kind that the skilled surgeons at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital provide.
Some of our endovascular and vascular surgery procedures include:
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- Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) are weakened areas in the aorta, the largest artery in the body, which is responsible for blood supply from the heart to the rest of the body. As blood flow travels through the aorta, pressure occurs against the walls of the blood vessel. If the walls are weakened because of AAA, they may bulge and burst, causing serious problems. This condition could damage the blood supply to the hips and pelvis.
Although there are not many obvious symptoms of a ruptured AAA, look for these warning signs and tell your doctor:
- abdominal pain
- lower back pain
- feeling of a "pulse" in the abdomen
- AAA stenting is a procedure in which an interventional radiologist inserts a catheter and graft inside the patient's artery using live x-ray imaging. The catheter is placed inside the femoral artery and sent to the aortic aneurysm through the veins. A stent graft is put into place to reinforce the walls of the blood vessel, preventing bulging and bursting. Recovery time will last from two to four weeks.
- Carotid stenting is the insertion of a small metal tube known as a stent to widen the carotid artery (the vessel responsible for blood flow to the brain) if it has been hindered by plaque buildup. During the procedure, the physician localizes narrow, weak blood vessels by injecting a dye into the veins, performing a fluoroscopy (a test providing a live x-ray image) to detect blockage in the veins. This helps guide the physician in proper placement of the carotid stent.
- Like coronary angioplasty, peripheral angioplasty treats arterial blockage and narrowing through the insertion of a small balloon. When this procedure is performed on major arteries other than the coronary artery, it is known as peripheral angioplasty. It is often used to treat peripheral vascular disease (PVD), which affects more than two million people in the United States. PVD is caused by atherosclerosis, which is a process where fat, cholesterol and calcium build up on the walls of the arteries, reducing the proper flow of blood to essential parts of the body such as the brain, heart and lungs. Peripheral angioplasty can help to prevent further complications such as claudication (severe cramps when walking, caused by PVD affecting the legs), stroke and some cases of high blood pressure.
- Arteriovenous fistulas are typically found in a passageway between an artery and a vein, however, this is an abnormal occurrence. AV fistulas tend to grow in the legs and arms but can occur just about anywhere in the body including important parts such as in the brain or in the heart.
- AV fistulas can be harmless however, their presence can also lead to serious problems such as heart failure. When too much blood is returned to the heart at once heart failure can occur. AV fistulas act as a bridge to bypass blood flow from the arteries directly to the veins bypassing the capillaries. A small amount of this activity is not harmful however, if the amount of blood flowing is increasing so does the risk of heart failure because tissues in the lower region may receive less blood supply.
- Vein stripping is a procedure used to treat enlarged veins. During the surgery, the top and bottom of the varicose vein, called the ankle end (bottom) and the groin end (top). The surgeon will insert a thin, plastic instrument that looks like a tube into the vein and then pulls the vein out. This all takes place under the skin and all the incisions are small. Multiple veins can be treated in one procedure.
- Vein stripping can be used to alleviate:
- circulatory problems caused by varicose veins
- leg pain, feelings of heaviness or tiredness
- ulceration of the skin and sores
- blood clots (especially those prone to travel to the lungs, heart or brain)
- Venous ablation is a innovative technique used as treatment for venous reflux in legs which is a condition characterized by insufficient blood flow from the legs back to the heart. This particular condition is known as venous reflux when the saphenous vein does not push enough of its blood back to the heart it gathers and can cause anything from varicose veins to severe pain and ulceration of the skin.
- Compression stockings are the most common type of treatment for venous reflux, however if the severity of the reflux is too high then venous ablation can be performed to eliminate the abnormal, refluxing vein by closing it up. Nearby veins in the area will take over the pumping motion back to the heart. Remember, since this vein is not pushing blood back up to the heart, it is already malfunctioning and therefore no longer needed to carry blood flow.