Minimally Invasive Surgery Increases Candidacy for Vascular Procedure

A concentration of expertise in minimally invasive endovascular surgery at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview, has opened the door to successful treatment for a broader population of patients with vascular disease, including peripheral artery disease (PAD) and abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA).

In the past, bypass surgery was the only surgical option for treating PAD patients with disabling arterial blockages in the limbs. Yet, for many PAD patients with serious illnesses or multiple risk factors, surgery was a non-viable option. Vascular surgeons with University of Minnesota Physicians are changing that reality through the increasingly successful use of minimally invasive endovascular surgery. “Often, the offending narrowing or blockage can be treated without traditional bypass surgery using a combination of angioplasty and stenting. This allows quicker recovery with fewer complications than traditional surgery,” states Todd Reil, M.D., vascular surgeon. “Our first-line treatment is focused on minimally invasive procedures. However, we also provide traditional open surgery when needed—including lower extremity bypass procedures.”

Minimally invasive surgery requires only small or no incisions, causes minimal pain, results in faster recovery, and offers less risk to the patients. “Even when surgery is required, we use smaller incisions that allow quicker recovery with fewer complications,” Reil says.

PAD affects approximately 12 million Americans and can lead to leg pain, poor wound healing and even limb loss. It also may be a sign of underlying heart and carotid artery disease, putting patients at risk for heart attack and stroke. PAD is initially diagnosed by assessing pulses in the feet and legs. Further testing can involve ultrasound and leg blood pressure measurements. Fortunately, you can manage many causes of PAD without surgery. When diagnosed early, you can treat with risk factor modification, high blood pressure and cholesterol treatment, smoking cessation, and exercise therapy. However, a less-invasive endovascular surgery may be the patient’s best option when surgery is needed.

In addition to PAD, the team also provides comprehensive management of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA). Aneurysms are enlarged arteries that can rupture, leading to death in most patients if left untreated. We replace traditional open surgical repair with less invasive, endovascular repair using stent grafts when possible. “Our unique team approach and a high degree of expertise in repairing abdominal aortic aneurysms let us expand our services to include individuals previously not considered candidates for this type of surgery,” says Steven Santilli, M.D., chief of vascular surgery.

University of Minnesota Physicians’ vascular surgeons also treat other arterial aneurysms, carotid artery disease, hemodialysis access, renal/visceral artery disease, thoracic outlet syndrome, varicose veins, and venous disease. Call Vascular Services at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview, at 612-626-6752.

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