So, you’re looking for information about vascular disease. Chances are that you may be suffering from one type of vascular disease or another and you’re not sure where to go next. At The Surgical Clinic, our vascular surgeons use thorough vein screenings and diagnostic vein tests to diagnose vein diseases so we can determine the best treatment for you.
Vascular Disease Diagnosis At The Surgical Clinics
PHYSIOLOGIC (NON-IMAGING) TESTING
Typically, our vascular experts will begin testing our patients by testing their physiology. These tests do not involve imaging such as x-rays, MRIs, or any other kind of radiology. During a physical exam, one of our vascular surgeons or nurses will assess your blood flow in your arms or legs. They’ll take blood pressure measurements and evaluate the quality of your circulation.
On top of taking blood flow measurements, we may ask you to take a treadmill test where you’ll walk on the treadmill for about 5 minutes, after which we’ll reexamine your blood pressure and circulation. These readings will help us determine if you have any narrowed or blocked veins or arteries.
This is another physiology test that does not involve x-rays or imaging. For an ankle/brachial index test, we’ll compare your blood pressure from your arms to the blood pressure from your ankle. Most often, we use your ankle-brachial index to check for peripheral arterial disease (PAD).
Typical Test Results and What They Mean
An index rating in this range usually means that you have no blockage. However, if you’re experiencing symptoms of PAD or another vascular disease, your doctor may have you go through another ankle-brachial index test after walking on a treadmill for a few minutes.
An index within this range indicates that you have borderline vascular disease or borderline PAD.
0.90 or Less
If your index rating falls below 0.90, then you have PAD. At this point, your doctor may recommend further testing to better understand the blockage of your veins or arteries.
Arterial Doppler with Segmental Pressures Upper and Lower Extremities: This test involves taking blood pressures from different levels of your legs or arms. We also record waveforms of the blood flow to determine the quality of the blood flow. The blood pressures and waveforms help determine where any arterial narrowing is located.
ARTERIAL DOPPLER WITH TREADMILL
Our vein experts use this test as a next-level arterial ultrasound exam. After having you walk on a treadmill for around five minutes, your doctor or nurse will examine the arteries in your arms and legs to check for blockages.
Usually, we perform this test after taking an ankle-brachial index.
VASCULAR HEALTH SCREENING
Many factors play a part in determining your vascular health. This is often the first step in our treatment process, where one of our vascular doctors in Nashville or Middle Tennessee, will sit down with you and thoroughly review your vascular health.
The initial vascular health screening will review the following factors that could be influencing or causing your vascular disease symptoms.
- Your past and current vascular health
- Exercise and activity levels
- Sleep schedule
- Previous surgeries to identify procedures that may have damaged your vascular system
- For women: pregnancy history and menopause
- Cholesterol levels
- Smoking history
- Alcohol use
- Family history of vascular conditions
Because vascular disease is caused by several factors that add up over time, we first want to identify where your lifestyle might need to change. Even if you need serious treatment such as vascular surgery, the best results will come when you make intentional changes to improve your health.
The Surgical Clinic is proud to operate an ICAVL accredited vascular laboratory where we provide diagnosis and treatment for all ranges of vascular diseases, including Raynaud’s Disease. This rare condition usually presents as numbness and discoloration in the fingertips.
One test we often use to test for this condition is called nail fold capillaroscopy. During this test, your doctor will examine the tiny blood vessels, or capillaries, under your fingernails. Depending on the results of this test, your doctor may order additional testing.
Vascular Ultrasounds and Imaging
One of the best ways for our doctors to identify what’s going on in your vascular system is with ultrasound testing. Using the latest technologies, we take a snapshot of your veins and arteries to find blockages and trouble spots that need to be treated.
Imaging also helps us understand your diagnosis and recommend the best treatment for your condition.
Vascular Diagnosis at The Surgical Clinics
After gathering your test results our vascular experts will work to identify and provide you with a detailed diagnosis for your vascular condition. Your doctor will review your test results with you and educate you so you know exactly what’s going on with your body.
After reviewing the status of your condition, your doctor will provide you with a recommended treatment pathway. Depending on your condition, your treatment may involve simple adjustments such as lifestyle changes, vascular surgery, or something in between.
What is the most common vascular surgery?
The most common vascular surgery procedures include:
- Carotid artery surgery
- Lower limb revascularization
- Varicose vein surgery
- Fistula placement or dialysis access surgery
- Aneurysm repair surgery
- Arterial bypass
Why would you need vascular surgery?
Vascular surgery provides essential treatment for vascular conditions. Left untreated, vascular disease can lead to life-threatening problems. Even non-fatal vascular disease can potentially lead to the loss of a limb.
Working with a qualified vascular surgeon to assess and treat your vascular disease is essential. Your doctor and surgeon will help you find the best operation and treatment for your disease.
Additionally, problems with circulation could result in limb loss due to vascular disease.
What happens in vascular surgery?
The answer to this question depends on which vascular surgery you’re going under.
Carotid Artery Surgery
Carotid Endarterectomy (CEA)
This surgery focuses on removing plaque from the artery’s wall in order to prevent or reduce the risk of stroke.
Carotid Angioplasty and Stenting (CAS)
This surgical procedure is another form of stroke prevention surgery. However, instead of removing plaque, this surgery focuses on re-enforcing the walls of the arteries in order to create unimpeded blood flow.
A surgeon will place a tiny wire-based structure in the artery, called a stent, to keep the artery open.
Lower Limb Revascularization
This surgery is used to relieve and improve symptoms of peripheral artery disease (PAD). To achieve revascularization, a surgeon may use either arterial bypass or angioplasty techniques to restore proper blood flow.
One of the most effective and common types of vascular surgery. This surgical procedure focuses on removing plaque from the vein walls by using a tiny balloon to scrape away the plaque.
For patients that need dialysis treatment, an access port called a fistula can be placed to make dialysis easier. However, it usually takes a few months for the fistula to grow large and strong enough to support regular hemodialysis.
In order to repair an aneurysm, a vascular surgeon will replace the stretched-out section of the blood vessel with a synthetic graft. In order to see the exact size and location of the aneurysm, dye will be injected into your blood vessels. The dye will react to imaging technology so our vascular surgeons can work with an accurate image of your veins or arteries.
Like a lower extremity bypass, a surgeon can perform an arterial bypass anywhere else in your body. This surgery is effective for treating PAD and other vascular diseases.
Trans Carotid Artery Revascularization
Also known as TCAR, this procedure is used to treat carotid artery disease for patients who need minimally invasive options. TCAR uses special technology and techniques to minimize the risk of strokes and other complications from surgery and has been shown to produce excellent results.
Read More: The TCAR Procedure at The Surgical Clinic
Vascular Surgery At The Surgical Clinic
If you’re suffering from vascular disease symptoms, call the surgeons at The Surgical Clinic for a vascular screening and consultation. Our surgeons are experts in Tennessee and are proud to provide some of the best vascular care.