Vascular Surgery & Endovascular Intervention
The Central Maine Heart and Vascular Institute at Central Maine Medical Center supports the work of vascular and endovascular surgeons who diagnose and treat patients with circulatory system problems. These doctors are assisted by physician assistants who also have special training in caring for vascular surgery patients.
CMHVI's vascular and endovascular surgeons treat diseases of the arteries and veins. Generally, vascular surgery is more conventional "open surgery", whereas endovascular surgery involves minimally invasive surgery accomplished with miniaturized instruments through small incisions.
Vascular diseases arise for many reasons, but often result from the buildup of plaque and cholesterol, which can cause blockages. (Blockages involving the heart are treated by cardiothoracic surgeons.) Vascular and endovascular surgeons treat blockages that occur in other parts of the body. If untreated, such blockages can cause strokes, loss of a limb, even death.
The most common vascular conditions treated by vascular surgeons are abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), carotid artery disease, peripheral arterial disease (PAD), and varicose veins.
- An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a bulge in the wall of the aorta. If this bulge bursts, the loss of blood can cause death in minutes.
- Carotid artery disease is caused by plaque within the arteries that supply blood to the brain. It can cause a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA).
- Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is caused by a build-up of plaque in the leg arteries, which can cause muscle pain and, in severe cases, foot pain or gangrene.
- Varicose veins are caused by damaged valves in the leg veins. They can be painful and cause leg ulcers that are resistant to healing. In some cases, they can cause deep vein thrombosis, a serious health problem.