From an interview with Gabor Winkler, MD McLeod Vascular Associates
The role of vascular surgeons is often confused with their fellow sub-specialists, the cardiothoracic surgeons. McLeod Vascular Surgeon Gabor Winkler, MD offers this quick overview:
Here’s a summary of Dr. Winkler’s comments:
A vascular surgeon is a medical expert on the blood vessels in the body. This includes all the blood vessels in the neck, belly, torso and lower body extremities.
There are two types of blood vessels that the vascular surgeon cares for — arteries and veins.
Other specialists within the cardiovascular arena are mainly concerned about the blood supply and the function of the heart. To some degree, all these systems work together.
However, the vascular surgeon deals with structural problems on the blood vessels mainly outside of the heart. The vascular surgical societies recently have stressed the importance of vascular surgeons being involved in all aspects of vascular care. There is a slogan that says, “We medicate, dilate and operate on patients with vascular disease.”
We identify many patients with vascular disease. Sometimes the symptoms that they present are very non-specific and it’s up to the vascular specialist to pinpoint whether the symptoms are, in fact, related to vascular disease or to other causes. Once the diagnostic process is completed and we have determined that the patient does, indeed, have the symptoms of vascular disease or PAD, then it is up to us to establish, in conjunction with the patient, what the best treatment is.
We always start with stressing the importance of risk factor modification and recommend non-invasive treatments, such as medication or medical therapy. In advanced stages of the disease that approach usually is not sufficient. In those cases, we will recommend the most effective and least invasive intervention or procedure to help the patient with the symptoms.