On a daily basis, we see patients who are seeking treatment for hardening of the arteries, typically in the legs or neck (PAD-peripheral arterial disease); weakening of the main artery in the abdomen (AAA-abdominal aortic aneurysm); and varicose veins. In each case, there are traditional ways of being treated (what we call “Open” Vascular Surgery) as well as innovative alternatives (what we call “Endovascular” Surgery).
How do we arrive at our recommendations and how do you decide what’s best for you?
It helps if your Vascular Surgeon performs both types of procedures rather than just one since s/he can draw on personal experience as well as the results of research, to tailor treatment to your specific needs.
You have to consider the trade-offs between short and long term risks and benefits.
- For AAA and varicose veins, endovascular techniques have virtually replaced traditional treatment given their low risk of complications and excellent outcomes, and both are well supported by the literature.
In PAD – from the carotid arteries in the neck to various arteries in the legs – results of newer technologies are a “mixed bag.”
If you are referred to and seen by a Vascular Surgeon, be sure and discuss traditional and endovascular treatment options before you make your final decision.