Your cardiovascular system is your body’s major “transportation system.” It is the means, via arteries and veins, by which blood and oxygen is supplied to your muscles and organs. Problems within the vascular system can be life-threatening or severely impact your quality of life. You may simply have pain in your legs after walking (claudication) or sores on the legs and feet that won’t heal. Stroke is possible if buildup in the carotid arteries of the neck is left untreated.
Surgical Associate’s team of board-certified vascular surgeons are highly-trained in the complex practice of correcting vascular problems. Our surgeons work closely with the Vascular Laboratory (located in our clinic) as well as the Aspirus Wound Clinic.
We take pride in our comprehensive approach to vascular care at Surgical Associates. Our clinic has trained nurse practitioners focused on vascular disease and an accredited vascular ultrasound department providing services within our clinic setting. Surgical Associates vascular surgeons are fellowship-trained, and all lower peripheral interventions are performed within the comfort of our clinic’s angiography suite.
We are dedicated to quality outcomes and preventing amputation, offering the most advanced treatment options available to help patients preserve their legs. Patients at Surgical Associates report a client satisfaction score of 4.98/5, and our amputation rate stands at 5% compared to the national rate of 20%.
Regardless of your condition, our goal is to always offer hope when others tell you there is none.
Personalized Care With Heart
Surgical Associates offers a fully-equipped, office-based vascular laboratory to provide a higher level of service and care to our patients. The vascular lab allows our surgeons to treat patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD) and critical limb ischemia (CLI) with interventions that are traditionally performed in a hospital setting. Furthermore, clinical innovation is not limited by this comfortable “boutique” setting. Our vascular and endovascular procedures use minimally-invasive techniques and state-of-the-art imaging and monitoring equipment.
Completing pre-op, lower peripheral surgery, and recovery in the lab reduces wait time, adds comfort, and allows you to return home sooner after the procedure. In addition, our 1:1-1:2 patient-to-nurse ratio and easy-to-navigate facility ensures the experience is as personalized, convenient and stress-free as possible. More than 600 patients have been treated at the Surgical Associates’ vascular lab since it opened two years ago.
Any condition that affects the veins and vessels of your circulatory system is considered a vascular disease and requires treatment. More common issues include your tissues not getting enough blood, or your bloodstream not bathing your tissues with enough white blood cells.
Peripheral Arterial Disease
When deposits of fat, cholesterol or other substances narrow or block arteries that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body, it’s called Peripheral Arterial Disease, or PAD. Those blockages can build up over time and make the condition worse.
Health problems and habits linked to PAD include smoking, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure or cholesterol and being over the age of 60. Symptoms of PAD include pain or tiredness in your extremities, color change in your skin, sores or ulcers, and potentially heart attack or stroke.
If lifestyle changes or medications don’t bring relief, a doctor will usually recommend one of several procedures. Angioplasty uses a tiny balloon to open a blocked artery. Stenting involves inserting a wire mesh tube into an artery to hold it open. Bypass surgery may be the only option for more severe blockages. This treatment uses a bypass graft to reroute blood around a blocked section.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
The aorta is the main artery of the body, supplying blood from the heart to the rest of the vascular system. An abdominal aortic aneurysm occurs when an area that feeds blood to the abdomen, pelvis and legs balloons out beyond the normal confines of the arterial wall.
While the exact cause of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm is unknown, factors known to exacerbate the problem include smoking, high blood pressure and some genetic factors. Symptoms of a ruptured aneurysm include back or abdominal pain, dizziness, clamminess, nausea, vomiting, elevated heart rate and shock.
Bleeding inside your body is considered an emergency and requires surgery right away, but an unruptured aneurysm bigger than two inches or growing is also often treated with a surgical procedure.
Carotid Artery Disease
The two primary vessels that carry blood to your brain are called the carotid arteries. A condition called stenosis occurs when one or both become narrowed by the buildup of a waxy substance called plaque.
Lack of exercise, an unhealthy diet or weight, older age, smoking, diabetes and family history can all be considered risk factors for Carotid Artery Disease. Stenosis can reduce the blood supply to the brain and lead to a stroke. Symptoms of a stroke are varied and sudden. This includes numbness, dizziness, confusion, severe headache and trouble speaking or walking.
Imaging tests, such as an ultrasound, can determine if you have carotid artery stenosis. Doctors typically recommend one of two treatments, a carotid endarterectomy or carotid artery stenting. Endarterectomy surgery clears blockage from the artery, while the stenting procedure widens the artery to hold it open.
- Consultation with the surgeon to evaluate the severity and necessity for treatment of your vascular problem as well as to initiate the workup process
- Testing; this could include something simple like an ultrasound done in the office or to something more complex like x-ray imaging in the hospital to evaluate the severity and location of the disease. This helps us identify which treatment is the best option for you.
- Observation versus surgery; your surgeon will guide you on what the best course of action is whether it be a periodic check of your condition to see if it is advancing or scheduling surgery.
- Visit with surgeon 1-2 weeks after your procedure.
- Depending on procedure done, you may need an ultrasound or other testing to assess progression of healing.
- You may need to come back periodically depending on the nature of your medical condition to assess stability versus advancement of your problem.
Will my insurance cover my procedure?
Our office staff will check with your insurance company for coverage and determine if any preauthorization is needed. You will want to call your insurance company, as well, to let them know that you are scheduled for surgery, give them the date of your surgery and where it is taking place.
What kinds of testing will need to be done?
The type of testing you may need could range from a simple ultrasound to a dye study done at the hospital. The type of problem that you have needs to be thoroughly evaluated, every angle looked at, so the appropriate treatment can be initiated.
How long will I be off of work?
This really depends on the type of surgery that you have but can range anywhere between 2-8 weeks.
What if my employer has paperwork to be completed, such as FMLA or disability forms?
No worries, our office staff takes care of all that paperwork for you. When you notify your employer that you need time off for surgery, they will give you these papers which you then bring to our office with your name and date of birth on them.
What if I have problems after surgery?
We have a vascular surgeon on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You will always have someone available to you if you have problems. We also have a nurse in the clinic during business hours as well as multiple surgeons to answer your questions.
When can I drive after surgery?
After surgery you will be sore and have some limited mobility. Once you are completely off of any narcotic pain medications and your braking reaction speed isn’t delayed, you can drive. Your surgeon will advise you on what to expect for the timing of this.g of this.