Choosing what path you choose in the medical field is one that shapes your entire career. This article is going to cover the basics of one of those options, to help illuminate something you may not have heard of before.
What Does A Vascular Surgeon Do?
Vascular surgeons specialize in the blood vessels, otherwise known as the vascular system. Your blood vessels serve as the main pathways of the circulatory system, bringing blood and oxygen to organs and systems. Generally, vascular surgeons handle arteries all over the body, with the exceptions being the brain and the heart.
Most patients see a vascular surgeon by a primary physician after another issue arises. For example, if you go to a doctor with pain in your legs and find that you have peripheral arterial disease, you may be referred to a vascular surgeon. Note that vascular surgeons also explain how to improve overall artery health with lifestyle choices as well as surgery if needed.
Procedures that vascular surgeons use include surgical reconstruction, carotid endarterectomy, hemodialysis access, and more. One procedure that has become more common in recent years is endovascular surgery. This is not a procedure done due to a prevalence of a specific condition, more of an approach used to handle several issues.
How Does Endovascular Surgery Work?
Endovascular surgery is a particular type of surgery that is considered minimally invasive. In general, it is a solution for problems affecting the blood vessels, including aneurysms. Generally, a small incision is made near the hip or groin to provide access to the blood vessels. At this point, an endovascular graft, a special fabric tube, is inserted into arteries with a catheter and positioned in the aorta. This seals off the aneurysm, and the graft stays in the aorta permanently.
What makes endovascular surgery so appealing is what the alternative to it used to be. These conditions used to require open surgery, generally via an incision in the chest or breastbone. As expected, these procedures require far more recovery time. Nowadays, a patient on average can expect a 7-10 stay after the surgery and three-month recovery.
Part of the reason why you may be hearing more about endovascular surgery lately is that recent advances are making it more viable. Endovascular procedures are known as “image-guided” procedures. This means that they surgeon performing the procedure can see what they are doing and where at all times. With new growth in imaging equipment and tech, endovascular surgery is a viable procedure for a growing amount of conditions.
How Does One Become A Vascular Surgeon?
According to the Society For Vascular Surgery, there are three main paths for become a vascular surgeon during the medical school process. Here are the three options you have:
This method is intended for trainees who match during medical school. Three years of the schooling are spent on vascular surgery training, along with two years of core surgical training. Note that at the conclusion of this, you would be eligible for board certification in vascular surgery only.
This is designed for residents in programs with ESP accreditation. A primary reason for choosing this path is that it allows early entry into vascular surgery. The traditional chief year of general surgery serves as the first year of vascular training in this case. Those that choose this track can vascular surgery and general surgery certification.
This track combines vascular surgery and general surgery certification. Those that complete the track are eligible for board certification in both general surgery and vascular surgery.
However, in order to guide your decision and enhance your learning during your education, keep your eyes fixed on the outside world. There are constant innovations in this field. Both people interested in this field as well as those who are already endovascular specialists would do well to look at various medical journals and conferences in order to look at the latest endovascular procedures.
Part of picking a career path is not just studying what you need to do to perform the job. Always keep learning about the forces shaping your field. Keeping this mindset will serve you well through school and beyond.
- Comes with free online access.
- Gary G. Wind MD, R. James Valentine MD FACS
- Phillip Vaughn
- CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
- Paperback: 346 pages
- John Clafin
- Independently published
- Paperback: 120 pages
Last update on 2019-09-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API