Vascular surgeons are specialists who are highly trained to treat diseases of the vascular system.
Our veins and arteries are the roadways which transport blood around the body. Without smoothly flowing blood, your body cannot function properly.
Conditions such as hardening of the arteries can create “traffic jams” in your circulatory system, obstructing the flow. Blood clots in the veins can also cause significant damage often leading to leg pain, skin breakdown and ulcers.
These clots can also dislodge and end up in the lungs, which can lead to a potentially lethal condition known as pulmonary embolism (PE).
The treatment of vascular conditions is currently an area of great innovation.
The surgeons at the Vascular Care Centre in Wollongong ensure that patients with vascular health issues know and understand all their treatment options.
The surgeons are highly trained in both open, and minimally invasive, endovascular procedures.
“In the last decade technology has advanced phenomenally, allowing us to offer less invasive treatment options, with better outcomes and faster recovery times,” Dr Tam Nguyen from the Vascular Care Centre said.
“For example, new generation balloon and stents for the treatment of blockages in the arteries are now coated with a medication that slowly releases, prolonging the benefit of the intervention.
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“In the past many blockages would not respond to treatment and would require an open surgery called a bypass. However, a recent innovation, known as an atherectomy device, allows us to “drill” through more stubborn plaque and safely remove it, reducing the burden and preventing the need for a high-risk open operation.”
Live x-rays, medically known as intraoperative digital fluoroscopy, have become an essential aide for the performance of most standard vascular operations.
“One of the most exciting advances in vascular imaging is intravascular ultrasound (IVUS),” Associate Professor Laurencia Villalba from the Vascular Care Centre said.
“This consists of a miniature ultrasound mounted at the tip of a catheter. It provides real time, sectional, 360-degree, images of the lumen, vessel wall and surrounding structures without radiation or IV contrast. It provides a much safer way of assessing and treating patients with superior accuracy.
“In the last couple of years we have also been able to offer minimally invasive treatments to patients who develop extensive deep venous thrombosis (DVT) or life threatening PE.
“Previously, the only treatment option was anticoagulation with medicine such as Warfarin which actually does not dissolve the clots. It instead only prevents the clot from getting bigger.
“We now have minimally invasive treatment options where through a needle stick, we can introduce a straw like catheter to dissolve the clot with drugs and remove it completely.”
Dr Nguyen said, “In general terms, vascular care is evolving rapidly with new devices and technological improvements almost every six months. It is a very exciting time for vascular specialists!”
The Vascular Care Centre is dedicated to providing their patients with the latest venous and arterial treatments available.
They are located at Suite 1 & 2, 310 Crown Street, Wollongong. For an appointment contact them on 4211 0400 or visit their website at vascularcarecentre.com.