Surgical Procedures for Vascular Disease

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Cardiovascular services are provided at our main facility at Cherry Hill and at multiple locations in King, Snohomish, Clallam and Grays Harbor Counties.

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For many vascular patients, surgery is the medical option that best meets their needs. And at Swedish, experienced vascular surgeons perform a wide range of procedures – allowing them to treat common conditions as well as the highly complex. In addition to expert surgeons, vascular-surgery teams also include highly trained clinical and other staff – all focused on providing excellent patient care and outcomes.

AAA Endovascular Graft

The AAA endovascular graft is a synthetic tubular device that’s used to treat an abdominal aortic aneurysm by sealing it off. (The aorta is the large artery leaving the heart. An aneurysm is a bulge or weakness in an artery wall. Too much pressure can cause the bulge to rupture and – in the case of an abdominal aneurysm – release an uncontrolled flow of blood into the abdominal cavity.) The graft has three parts: a main body and two legs. It is made of a polyester material attached to a frame of stainless steel stents. The stents (wire mesh tubes that act as a scaffold) support the graft and hold it open within the vessel.

The graft is delivered to the aneurysm in the aorta via catheter, and is then attached to the wall of the aorta by the self-expanding stents and a specially designed attachment system. Once it is in place, blood flow can continue through the aorta without filling or putting pressure on the aneurysm – preventing further growth and possible rupture of the aneurysm.

Thoracic AA Surgery

Thoracic AA (aortic aneurysm) surgery is performed to repair aneurysms in the chest area that can involve the aorta. Thoracic aortic aneurysms are most often caused by atherosclerosis, a hardening of the arteries that damages the artery’s walls and causes them to stiffen and weaken. Repairing the aneurysm surgically is complex and requires an experienced surgical team, which is available at Swedish.

Laparoscopic Aortic Surgery

This minimally invasive approach to repairing aortic problems, such as leaky valves, is one of the many specialties of the Swedish Heart and Vascular Institute. Our surgeons are oftentimes able to achieve complete and successful results with this procedure, which offers a number of benefits as compared to traditional open surgery. These benefits include a smaller incision, less bleeding, less pain and trauma, less potential for infection, a shorter hospital stay and a shorter recovery time after discharge.

Laparoscopic Lumbar Sympathectomy

Laparoscopic lumbar sympathectomy is a minimally invasive procedure that addresses problems with the lumbar sympathetic chain, a group of nerves in the lower back that control blood supply to the legs. Benefits of a lumbar sympathectomy include relieving back and leg pain caused by spinal canal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal), reducing leg and foot pain due to poor blood supply, and helping to heal leg and foot ulcers.

Femoral-Popliteal Bypass

Femoral-popliteal leg bypasses are performed when plaque causes narrowing or blockage in the arteries of the leg, leading to pain in the feet and toes, skin ulcerations and, in extreme situations, muscle weakness and numbness. Surgical bypass for leg-artery disease typically involve rerouting blood from the femoral artery in the thigh to another artery in the thigh, knee, lower leg or foot to improve blood flow. In situ (localized) leg bypass uses an artery close to the problem artery for the bypass, rather than using an artery from elsewhere in the leg.

Endoscopic Vein Harvesting

Patients are sometimes surprised to learn that a bypass surgery may actually involve two procedures: (1) the bypass operation itself and (2) the removal of a healthy blood vessel – usually the saphenous vein in the leg – which is used to construct the bypass. Swedish and its surgeons are recognized leaders in using the endoscopic procedure that allows a vein to be harvested through three one-inch incisions, rather than a single large incision. Endoscopic vein harvesting causes less muscle and tissue damage and eliminates many of the potential complications that may accompany the traditional vein-harvesting technique.

Carotid Endarectomy

A significant percentage of the blood supplied to the brain comes through the carotid arteries, which are located on either side of the neck. When one or both of these arteries become blocked – usually by calcified plaque – a stroke is often the result. A carotid endarectomy is performed to do away with the blockage by removing the plaque from a patient’s carotid artery(ies).