What is vascular surgery?

doctor measuring blood pressure

Vascular surgery treats disorders of the vascular system, including diseases of arteries, veins, and lymphatic vessels. General surgeons who perform vascular surgery are also trained to assess, diagnose, and treat vascular conditions across the body.

When should I see a specialist for vascular surgery?

Vascular surgery may be appropriate for you if you suffer from the following:

● Carotid artery disease – a condition where plaque builds up inside the carotid arteries that carry blood to the neck and head. This plaque can cause a stroke

● Aneurysms – a weakening and dilation of a blood vessel that can rupture

● Critical limb ischemia – blockage in the arteries of the legs which can significantly reduce blood flow and result in serious complications like leg amputation

● Venous disease – such as varicose veins

● Lymphoedema – swelling caused by accumulation of fluid in the body’s tissues

Enquire with our general surgeons.

Did you know?

A recent study by the National Neuroscience Institute in Singapore has shown a recent increase in the arrival of stroke patients at hospitals within the crucial time-sensitive period.¹

What are the risks of vascular surgery?

blood pressure monitoring device

Although vascular surgery comes with general risks such as bleeding and infection, one of the major risks is stroke¹. This is mostly because patients that have been referred for vascular surgery often already have other problems such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure or diabetes.

How do I prepare for vascular surgery?

If you have been scheduled for vascular surgery, there will usually be some preparation involved before the day of your operation. This may vary depending on the type of surgery you are having, but you can usually expect the following:

You may need to stop taking certain medications, as some might increase your risk of complications. Talk to your surgeon or anaesthesiologist about any medication you’re taking.

You will usually be expected to stop eating and drinking a few hours, or even a day, before surgery. Your surgeon will advise you on the specifics of this.

If you smoke, you should stop or cut down. This will reduce your surgery risks and improve your recovery.

What can I expect during vascular surgery?

elderly couple smiling at camera and hugging

Vascular surgery will require either general or local anaesthetic. The type of anaesthetic will depend on what type of surgery you need to have.

If you’re having a more invasive surgery, and require a general anaesthetic, you will be suitably prepared for this prior to surgery. Once you’re ready, you will be taken into the operating theater where your anaesthesiologist will administer your anaesthetic.

You will be connected to an echocardiogram (ECG) machine as well as a blood pressure machine to monitor your heart and circulation. Once you’re asleep, you will also need a tube inserted into your airway to assist your breathing through your operation.

The surgical team will then proceed with the planned surgery. Because of the nature of anaesthetic medication, you will not have any memory of the procedure.

If you’re being treated for a procedure such as varicose veins, you may only need a local anaesthetic. This procedure will be done while you’re awake, and is usually only done as a day procedure, with no need for overnight observation.

What happens after my vascular surgery?

You will usually spend around 2 to 3 days in recovery after vascular surgery. This will depend on the type of surgery you’ve had, as well as your general health prior to the surgery.

If you have had a procedure to treat something like varicose veins, you will likely go home the same day.

Your general surgeon will advise you when you can return to normal activities, but research has shown that the sooner you become active after vascular surgery, the quicker your recovery can be.

Lifestyle changes will be a big part of your life following vascular surgery. It is important to follow the guidance given by your specialists about diet, exercise, and how to quit smoking.

Request an appointment with a general surgeon today.

[1] Milad Sharifpour, Laurel E. Moore, Amy M. Shanks, Thomas J. Didier, Sachin Kheterpal, George A. Mashour. Incidence, Predictors, and Outcomes of Perioperative Stroke in Noncarotid Major Vascular Surgery. Anesthesia & Analgesia, 2013; 116 (2)