Below are treatments for common and rare blood vessel problems.
Minimally Invasive Aneurysm Repair
Emory vascular surgeons repair hundreds of aortic aneurysms each year. We start by running tests to see how severe the aneurysm is and to suggest the best treatment choices.
Minimally Invasive Stent Grafts
We can treat some aneurysms with a minimally invasive endovascular stent graft repair. The stents are small metal scaffolds or tubes that support the weak part of the aorta. The surgeon threads the stents through a catheter (thin tube) running from the groin to the vessel.
The hospital stay is usually just a day or two. Most patients return to work and normal activity in about a week. In some cases, the traditional "open" procedure may be a better choice. That’s where the surgeon makes an incision at the aneurysm site to repair it with a graft. With either repair, you may need to follow up from time to time at the Emory Non-invasive Vascular Laboratory to make sure the repair holds strong.
Carotid Artery Stents and Carotid Endarterectomy
If you have severe carotid artery disease, carotid endarterectomy may be the best way to restore your artery and prevent a stroke. Since plaque buildup is usually in a very small area in the middle of the artery, surgeons can often remove it through a small incision. Most people just need local anesthesia (meaning you aren’t “put to sleep”).
Most people recover and go back to their day-to-day lives quickly. About 90 percent of patients have normal carotid arteries for the rest of their lives. You may need regular follow-up ultrasound scans.
Fenestrated and Branched Endografts
Traditional endovascular surgery may not be right for people who have:
- Large aneurysms
- Complex abdominal aortic aneurysms
- Aneurysms that involve the chest and stomach areas (thoracoabdominal aneurysms) and the aortic arch (curved part of the aorta)
- Aneurysms where arteries branch off to kidneys or other organs
A minimally invasive surgery called fenestrated and branched endograft implantation may help these patients. In this procedure, a surgeon threads a catheter (thin tube) from the groin to the blood vessel. Endografts (stents or small metal scaffolds or tubes) are fed through the catheter to the aneurysm. These stents have reinforced openings (fenestrations) or branches allow the surgeon to attach arteries that lead to other organs.
Advantages of fenestrated and branched endograft implantation include:
- Small or no incisions
- Shorter hospital stays (one or two days vs. 10-14 days for open surgical repair)
- Quicker recovery
- Safe and effective for high-risk patients
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) Treatments
If you have PAD, your treatment may depend on where the problem is and how it’s affecting you. Your treatment options may include:
- Exercise Training – With PAD, your muscles get less oxygen. Over time, regular exercise can train muscles to use less oxygen more efficiently. This slowly helps you walk farther and farther without pain.
- Drug Therapy – Some medicines, along with exercise, can ease the pain and cramps (claudication) that leads to limping. Our vascular specialists will coordinate your drug therapy with other medicines you may take to avoid drug interactions.
- Balloon Angioplasty with or Without Stent Placement – In balloon angioplasty, a small balloon attached to a catheter (thin, flexible tube) is inserted into a blood vessel. An X-ray helps guide the surgeon to the site of the blocked artery, where the balloon inflates and opens the vessel. Depending on the condition of the artery, a stent (small metal scaffold or tube) may be inserted to keep the artery open.
- Surgical Revascularization – If several leg arteries are severely blocked, balloon angioplasty and stent placement may not restore circulation. You may need revascularization by surgical bypass. That’s when a surgeon removes vein from your leg and uses it to reroute blood flow around the blocked arteries.
In thrombolytic therapy, clot-busting drugs called lytics dissolve blood clots that suddenly block major blood vessels. These are usually life-threatening events, so therapy needs to start right away. Therapy may take one to 48 hours, depending on whether you’ve had a heart attack or have deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Venous Stasis Ulcers
Help for venous stasis ulcers is available without a hospital stay. Emory vascular surgeons can isolate and eliminate the diseased veins in an outpatient procedure. Our treatment team includes wound-care nurses who specialize in the long-term care of venous stasis ulcers.
Endolaser & Closure FAST Ablation and Microphlebectomy
We use two technologies to eliminate varicose veins: laser treatment (EVLT) and radiofrequency (VNUS Closure).