What Are Vascular Surgeons Called and What Do They Do?

Vascular surgeons are doctors who attended medical school and also completed additional training specifically in surgery. Most of them studied a combination of general and vascular surgery in residencies that last an average of five to seven years. They are trained to treat diseases of the veins, arteries, and lymphatic system. Vascular surgeons typically treat serious, complicated, or life-threatening issues in blood vessels, not issues like cosmetic vein damage.

However, some vein doctors are also trained in minimally invasive treatments, which are now recommended over surgery for most patients. Book an appointment with a board certified vein doctor in New Jersey to learn whether surgery or a less invasive method is best for you. If you have superficial vein damage, like spider veins or varicose veins, a phlebologist or minimally invasive vein doctor is advised over a vascular surgeon, unless the surgeon is also qualified to administer minimally invasive vein treatments.

Do you need a doctor for vascular problems? What is a vascular surgeon called, and why are they needed? These tips will help determine if you need vascular surgery.

Do Vascular Surgeons Have Board Certification?

Vascular surgeons aren’t all board certified in surgery. Acquiring board certification is a voluntary process that demonstrates a higher quality of care, a commitment to ongoing training, and verification of expertise. Some vascular surgeons are board certified in another specialty, like vein medicine or internal medicine, and are qualified to administer surgery, but they don’t have board certification by the American Board of Surgery.

It’s important to choose a doctor who is board certified, but they don’t necessarily need to be certified by the ABS, particularly if you’re having a non-surgical treatment. For instance, if you’re seeking minimally invasive varicose veins or spider veins treatment, a vein doctor with board certification by the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine or the American Board of Medical Specialties is an excellent choice. 

Do Surgeons Treat All Blood Vessels in the Circulatory System?

There are three primary types of blood vessels in the circulatory system: arteries, capillaries, and veins. They work together but have different structures and functions. Arteries pump oxygenated blood away from the heart to deliver nutrients and oxygen throughout the body. Capillaries are small connective blood vessels that transfer deoxygenated blood from arteries to veins. Veins then transport blood back to the heart.

Vascular surgeons primarily treat diseases in the arteries. They also treat severe varicose veins and blood clots in veins, but surgery is rarely necessary for veins or capillaries anymore. New methods enable vein doctors to treat issues with tiny catheters and needles inserted through the skin. Veins are lined with interior valves that close once blood passes through, to keep it on an upward trajectory.

When valves are broken or weakened, they don’t close properly. Blood flows in reverse and builds endovenous pressure, causing spider veins and varicose veins. These issues are easy to treat non-surgically, with the help of duplex ultrasound guidance and cutting-edge devices.

Can They Treat Carotid Arteries, Peripheral Arterial Disease?

Issues with the carotid arteries, peripheral arterial disease, and arterial aneurysms are commonly treated by vascular surgeons. However, many arterial diseases can be treated with medication or lifestyle and dietary adjustments rather than surgery. Take note that certain arterial issues require urgent attention. If an artery is penetrated, ruptured, or occluded, seek emergency care rather than calling a vascular surgeon.

Can Vascular Surgeons Do Dialysis Access for Hemodialysis?

Some vascular surgeons are trained to create dialysis access to filter blood outside the body. This is typically done for patients in kidney failure. There are four primary ways to create dialysis access, including sewing a portion of vein to an artery to enlarge the vein, sewing a graft between an artery and a vein, placing a tunneled catheter in your neck, or placing a cannula in your peritoneum. In most cases, vascular surgeons work in conjunction with nephrologists or endocrinologists in this process, so ask about the vascular surgeon’s experience with dialysis access before choosing them. 

Can You Treat Vascular Problems Without Vascular Surgery?

Many vascular problems are treated without vascular surgery. Veins and capillaries are largely treated with minimally invasive procedures, except in rare cases when blood clots or complications are involved. Arteries are also frequently treated non-surgically. For instance, hypertension (high blood pressure in arteries) is routinely treated with medication and healthy lifestyle adjustments. If you have vascular issues, particularly in your veins or capillaries, see a minimally invasive vein doctor before you consider vascular surgery.

What Are Minimally Invasive Alternatives to Vascular Surgery?

There are several minimally invasive alternatives to vascular surgery, so ask your doctor to explain all of your options. For veins, many patients are better suited to sclerotherapy, endovenous laser ablation, radiofrequency ablation, vein adhesives, or mechanochemical ablation than vascular surgery.

For broken capillaries, laser treatment or sclerotherapy is typically all that’s required. And for arteries, laser angioplasty, atherectomy, cryoplasty, stenting, and balloons are all less invasive than surgery. Choose a vascular surgeon who is trained in and favors minimally invasive vein treatments to avoid unnecessary surgery.

Which New Jersey Doctor is Right for Your Vascular Problems?

Vascular problems are very common in adulthood. Roughly one third of adults in the world have high blood pressure in their arteries. And roughly two thirds of adults will develop high blood pressure in their veins, resulting in spider veins or varicose veins. Fortunately, many issues in the circulatory system no longer require surgery. So, rather than just searching, “What is a vascular surgeon called,” it’s wise to also search for minimally invasive doctors near you with board certification in fields like vein medicine.

While vascular issues are common, they range in severity. So, choose your vascular specialist carefully. In New Jersey, visit Harvard-trained vein specialists at our vein centers in Paramus, Clifton, Woodbridge, or Woodland Park for expert care with state-of-the-art technology. Our award-winning vein doctors have the latest technology to help prevent unnecessary vascular surgery.