From varicose veins to treatment for vascular disease, our specialists in vascular and endovascular care are here to help you live your best, healthiest life.
The vascular surgery team at Valley Medical Center provides comprehensive care for conditions involving the arteries and veins throughout the body. Our specialty-trained surgeons are experienced in both minimally-invasive procedures and complex surgeries and are supported by state-of-the-art resources at VMC, including a new hybrid operating room and the latest endovascular technologies. We are dedicated to personalizing the most effective treatment possible for each patient, and bringing new, innovative procedures to the VMC community. Finally, we work closely with other specialists as part of multi-disciplinary teams to ensure the best care for our patients.
Patients with clear symptoms of vascular disease, such as painful varicose veins or gangrene of the foot, are welcome to contact our clinic to schedule an appointment. Patients who have previously been diagnosed with, or treated for, vascular disease can also contact us directly. Otherwise, we encourage patients to see their primary care provider for an initial evaluation. We work hard to see any patient with a critical issue as soon as possible. Additionally, VMC has an aggressive, multi-disciplinary team for patients with gangrene, non-healing wounds, or ulcers of the feet.
We provide the full spectrum of vascular care, including:
An aneurysm is an enlarged artery, which can occur throughout the body, and are primarily related to smoking and family risk. Aneurysms are concerning because they can rupture from ongoing enlargement, resulting in internal bleeding that is usually fatal. In addition, aneurysms behind the knee (popliteal aneurysms) can form blood clots that can cut off circulation to the foot, leading to leg pain or even limb loss. The most common type is an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), but aneurysms can also develop in the large arteries in the chest, pelvis, or leg.
We can treat thoracic and abdominal aortic aneurysms, and aneurysms of the iliac, femoral, and popliteal arteries. For patients with relatively small aneurysms, we help coordinate periodic ultrasounds to track growth. For patients with aneurysms that need to be repaired, we offer minimally invasive repair with a stent-graft (endovascular aortic aneurysm repair, EVAR), or open repair depending on each patient’s condition and specific anatomy.
Carotid stenosis is a narrowing in one or both of the main arteries to your brain and can result in a stroke. In patients who have had a stroke or mini-stroke, or who are at risk for these events they often require treatment to expand the narrowing with a stent, or we remove the narrowing altogether (carotid endarterectomy). Patients with lower risk carotid stenosis are treated with medications, lifestyle changes, and periodic ultrasounds to track the severity of the blockage.
Patients with kidney failure need dialysis to filter their blood, a procedure which requires a connection between the body and the dialysis machine. Hemodialysis (known as HD) refers to direct filtering of the blood. The simplest way to perform hemodialysis is through a tunneled catheter, which is a large IV that is put through the skin. However, these have significant risks, including potential infection and scarring of the veins in the chest, so we try to use these as little as possible. For patients needing long-term HD, we perform arteriovenous fistula or graft creation, which involves a surgery to make a connection between an artery and vein in your arm, which is then used for dialysis. Unfortunately, these often develop issues such as narrowing (stenosis), enlargement (aneurysm), ulceration or abnormal flow (steal syndrome) that require additional procedures to fix, and we offer the full range of dialysis access maintenance and revision procedures. For patients with limited dialysis access options, we can insert HeRO catheters or perform complex access creation.
Another option for dialysis is by filtering the fluid in your abdomen, known as peritoneal dialysis. This requires a special tube inserted through your abdominal wall, which we can insert via a minimally invasive surgery.
Arteries are vessels that take blood from your heart to your extremities. Peripheral arterial disease results from narrowings and blockages in the arteries in your legs, and is usually related to a combination of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and/or smoking. PAD decreases blood flow to your legs when you walk or exercise, resulting in pain in your buttocks, thighs, or calves, known as claudication. When PAD is severe it can result in constant pain, non-healing wounds, ulcers, or gangrene, which can be very disabling or even result in an amputation.
We treat mild PAD with medications and lifestyle changes. For patients who require treatment for more severe symptoms, we tailor treatment to each patient’s overall condition, symptoms, and pattern of disease. Options include minimally-invasive treatment of narrowings from the inside of the artery with a balloon or stent, removal or bypass of extensive blockages through surgery, or a combination of these.
Patients with the most severe disease develop non-healing wounds or gangrene are at very high risk for leg amputation without restoration of blood flow to their foot. For these patients, we closely collaborate with colleagues in wound care, podiatry, and infectious disease to come up with a plan to save their leg.
Varicose veins are enlarged, twisted veins. They can happen anywhere in the body but they are more common in the legs.
Varicose veins are not considered a serious health problem but they can be uncomfortable and can lead to more serious problems. And because they may be very noticeable, they may cause people to feel uncomfortable or embarrassed.
Spider veins, a milder type of varicose veins, are smaller than varicose veins and often look like a sunburst or "spider web." They are red or blue in color and are often found on the face and legs, just under the skin.
Varicose veins are caused by increased blood pressure in the veins. They can occur in the veins near the surface of the skin.
The blood moves toward the heart by one-way valves in the veins. When the valves become weakened or damaged, blood can collect (pool) in the veins and even flow backward. This causes the veins to become enlarged. Sitting or standing for a long time can cause blood to pool in the leg veins. This increases the pressure in the veins. The veins can stretch from the increased pressure. This may weaken the walls of the veins and damage the valves.The most common symptoms of varicose veins are:
Over time, severe varicose veins may lead to long-term mild swelling. That can result in more serious skin and tissue problems. These include ulcers and nonhealing sores.
Veins are blood vessels that take blood from your extremities back to your heart. In the leg, healthy veins have valves in them to help blood flow back to your heart against gravity when you are standing. If these valves don’t work properly, pressure can build in the veins leading to spider and varicose veins, swelling, pain, and even non-healing wounds. This condition, known as venous reflux or venous insufficiency, can be treated initially with compression stockings. For patients with persistent or severe symptoms, we offer a combination of radiofrequency ablation (RFA), phlebectomy (vein removal), and sclerotherapy (injections), which we tailor to each patient’s symptoms and disease.
Blood clots in the veins, known as deep venous thrombosis, can lead to severe leg swelling and pain, which can be an emergency. We perform minimally invasive clot removal (thrombectomy and thrombolysis) to restore blood flow. Often, this is due to an underlying narrowing of one of the pelvic veins, known as May-Thurner Syndrome, which requires treatment with a stent to prop the vein open. Stenting can also be beneficial for patients who have chronic leg pain and wounds following a prior blood clot in their leg (known as post-thrombotic syndrome).
Finally, some patients require placement of a filter in the inferior vena cava (IVC filter) to prevent blood clots from traveling from their legs to their lungs, which is known as pulmonary embolism. We offer retrievable filter placement when needed. However, many patients with such filters in place never have them removed, which can lead to long-term complications, so we also offer IVC filter removal to patients with filters in place.
For more information, check out these resources from the Society for Vascular Surgery:
Imaging studies are performed using X-ray, CT or MRI; often with the aid of a contrast material, to view blood vessels in great detail and to evaluate blood flow and determine areas of blockage.
A catheter is threaded up through the groin to the point of narrowing or blockage, and a tiny balloon at the tip of the catheter is inflated to open the narrowed or blocked artery or vein. It is then deflated and removed, restoring adequate blood supply to the chest, abdomen or legs.
There is a silent killer among us. Known as Triple A, or AAA, abdominal aortic aneurysm is the third leading cause of death in men over age 60. When AAA ruptures, it carries a 75-90% mortality rate. AAA is an aneurysm (blood-filled bulge) occurring in the abdominal aorta, an artery located behind the belly near your back that carries blood to the lower part of the body. You don't feel it and, until it ruptures, you rarely have symptoms. It is estimated that more than a million people are living with an undiagnosed AAA. Often found by accident during a screening for back or abdominal pain, Valley Medical Center’s Vascular Clinic surgeons repair these deadly bulges.
Stenting is used to help prevent rupture of aneurysm (a weakened, bulging area of an artery or vein) in the abdomen, chest or neck. It can also be used to treat severe peripheral vascular disease (PVD). Using a catheter as the mode of transport, a thin mesh tube is threaded through the groin. It is placed to serve as permanent reinforcement to hold open the walls of an artery or vein. Stenting is often performed in conjunction with balloon angioplasty. Stents can be coated with time-release medication. These are known as drug-eluting stents, and help prevent the artery from narrowing or becoming blocked again (restenosis) as tissue grows over the stent. Today, a million Americans a year receive stents.
Clot-busting drugs or tools are introduced directly into an artery or vein via catheter to dissolve or manually break up a clot. Thrombolysis is performed as an emergency treatment for stroke to restore blood flow in the brain. It may also be a scheduled procedure, such as therapy to treat a blocked access graft or deep vein thrombosis.
Surgical bypass grafts (aortic/iliac/peripheral)
Not all patients are candidates for endovascular procedures. We also perform traditional surgical bypass grafts in the chest, abdomen and legs to improve blood flow, “detouring” blood from diseased arteries and veins and rerouting the flow through a stronger, healthier bypass section made of Dacron fabric or a healthy vein taken from your own arm or leg.
In this video, Dr. McCallum answers the following questions:
0:14 | What are varicose veins?
0:46 | What are the symptoms of varicose veins?
1:19 | What causes varicose veins?
2:12 | Who was at risk for having varicose veins?
2:42 | How are varicose veins diagnosed?
3:01 | How are varicose veins treated?
4:16 | What are possible complications of varicose veins?
4:47 | Under what circumstances does treatment for varicose veins become medically necessary?
5:15 | What can people do to prevent varicose veins?