Vascular surgery involves using medicine, surgical procedures and minimally invasive procedures with catheters to treat the blood vessels in your body, from the cardiac vessels near your heart to problems like varicose veins in your legs. Your veins and arteries keep you alive, so choosing the right vascular surgeon to treat them is critically important.
Here are some things to consider when choosing a vascular surgeon.
The first and most important thing to know is the surgeon’s background and experience. Not only should they have gone through medical school and a residency — which is required before any doctor can practice — but also specific training for the type of surgical procedures they perform.
You can also check whether the surgeon is certified by the American Board of Surgery, which requires five years of an approved residency and lengthy written and oral exams. Not all surgeons are board-certified. Ask the doctor about their training and education in the procedures you’re considering.
EXPERIENCE WITH PROCEDURE
A closely related topic is the surgeon’s experience performing your exact procedure.
Some surgeons perform a wide range of surgeries while others specialize in very specific procedures, perfecting their skills in a narrow area over many years.
You don’t always need a specialist surgeon, but it can be helpful to know how many years your surgeon has performed the procedure along with how many times they have done it.
This information can help guide your decision.
The best surgeons will have a great reputation, both in the medical community and with their patients. You can start by asking your general practice doctor who they recommend for vascular surgery and why. This is where most patients get their best advice.
If you know any friends, family members or co-workers who have needed vascular surgery, you can ask them about their experience, too. Hearing their first-hand stories of how happy they were with their procedures can add some insight.
While it’s not nearly as important as their medical background, the vascular surgeon’s personality may also play a role in your decision.
Part of this is because you want the surgeon to make you feel comfortable by answering all your questions and keeping you fully informed of what to expect from the procedure.
Another reason is that a good relationship with your doctor can lead to better medical outcomes. Your surgeon should be someone you are very comfortable telling your medical history and habits to, with complete honesty, to make sure they’re fully informed before beginning the procedure. Honesty and openness can make medical procedures safer in some cases.
In the end, if you find a surgeon with the right experience level, training and a great reputation, you’ll be very likely to have a good outcome from your vascular procedure.