Combining attentive, compassionate care with our extensive clinical and research resources, UT Southwestern's cardiology experts and vascular specialists deliver individualized care within pre-eminent health care facilities.
At UT Southwestern Medical Center, our vascular experts specialize in endovascular surgery, or minimally invasive treatments for vascular and related conditions. We combine our expertise in cardiology, vascular disease, interventional radiology, and other specialties to provide the latest diagnostic and treatment techniques for stroke, peripheral vascular disease, and many other conditions.
Minimally Invasive Surgery for Vascular and Related Conditions
Endovascular surgery describes minimally invasive procedures to diagnose and treat vascular disease. In endovascular surgery, our vascular surgeons use catheters (long, thin, flexible tubes) to access arteries and veins. This allows them to diagnose and treat a variety of vascular conditions anywhere in the body.
Endovascular procedures are less invasive than traditional open surgical techniques and can offer benefits such as:
- No incisions
- Shorter hospital stay
- Less pain
- Lower risk of complications
- Shorter recovery time
At UT Southwestern, our interventional radiologists and vascular surgeons use the latest techniques for minimally invasive endovascular procedures, often based on our own research. Our doctors are experts at treating even the most complex vascular conditions, providing treatment options other than “open surgery.”
Conditions We Treat with Endovascular Surgery
Our vascular specialists use endovascular procedures to treat a variety of conditions throughout the body, including:
- Conditions affecting the aorta (the body’s largest artery, which carries blood from the heart), such as aneurysms or dissection
- Cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis, the buildup of cholesterol and other fats (plaque) inside artery walls that causes narrowed or blocked arteries
- Carotid artery disease: Narrowing or blockage of arteries that supply blood to the brain
- Chronic venous insufficiency: Damaged valves and/or weakened veins that are unable to efficiently send blood from limbs back to the heart
- Critical limb ischemia: Narrowing or blockage of arteries that carry blood to the arms or legs
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT): Blood clots that develop in large, deep veins, usually in the legs
- Peripheral vascular disease: A complication of diabetes, caused by atherosclerosis in arteries that carry blood to the legs
- Pulmonary embolism: Blood clots that develop in leg or arm arteries and travel to the lung arteries
- Renal vascular disease, such as narrowing or blockage in arteries and veins of the kidneys
- Stroke: Partially or completely blocked blood flow to the brain, which can be caused by a blood clot blocking an artery or an artery that ruptures in the brain
- Tumors, both cancerous and noncancerous
- Varicose veins: Visibly enlarged, bulging veins, typically in the legs, that can cause leg swelling and other symptoms
- Vascular malformations: Clusters of abnormal, enlarged arteries, veins, or lymph vessels caused by hereditary disorders
Endovascular Surgery Techniques
Endovascular procedures use catheters to help diagnose and treat vascular and other conditions, sometimes during the same procedure. The doctor makes a small incision in the groin area to access a blood vessel and carefully threads a catheter into the vessel. The doctor then injects dye through the catheter to show the blood vessel on imaging.
Using imaging such as ultrasound or fluoroscopy (X-ray video), the doctor guides the catheter to the area for diagnosis or treatment. Medical instruments in the catheters enable the doctor to view the area in question and perform procedures such as widening arteries or removing blockages.
Our vascular surgeons and interventional radiologists offer the latest, minimally invasive techniques for endovascular surgery, such as:
- Ablation: Use of intense heat to seal off varicose veins
- Artery bypass: Use of a graft (plastic tube or section of blood vessel from the patient’s body) to reroute blood flow around a section of blocked artery
- Balloon angioplasty and stenting: Inflation of a tiny balloon at the end of the catheter to open narrowed or blocked arteries, often with a stent (tiny wire mesh tube) that is implanted to keep the artery open
- Blood clot procedures: Removal of a large blood clot or injection of medications that dissolve the clot
- Carotid endarterectomy: Removal of plaque in neck arteries that carry blood to the brain
- Embolization: Use of medications or synthetic substances to block blood flow to a small, specific area to treat aneurysms, vascular malformations, or cancerous or noncancerous tumors
- Exclusion: Repair of an aneurysm by blocking off the weakened section of artery and rerouting blood flow
- Vena cava filter placement: Implantation of a filter in the vena cava, the body’s largest vein, to prevent blood clots from getting into the lungs