The Father of Interventional Radiology

Vascular surgery as a subspecialty in medicine is actually a fairly new field. While not new enough to be experimental or dangerous, the idea of minimally-invasive procedures to treat vascular diseases goes back less than fifty years. Like other areas of surgery, innovative techniques and methods are constantly being introduced to vascular surgery. The field is a clear example of the strides medical care is still taking.

 

Charles Theodore Dotter, known as the “Father of Interventional Radiology”, was a US pioneer in angioplasty. The minimally invasive, endovascular procedure widens narrowed or obstructed arteries or veins. A deflated balloon is attached to a catheter and put in place using a guide wire, then inflated to increase blood flow. A stent may be inserted then the balloon is deflated and removed. Dotter used this method in 1964 to treat a woman suffering from a painful leg ischemia and gangrene. The 82 year old patient refused to have her leg amputated, which beyond angioplasty treatment was the only option to save her life. The treatment he provided gave circulation back to the patient’s leg, which remained open until her death a couple years later. Dotter also developed liver biopsy through the jugular vein in 1973.

 

Enough time and new developments have placed vascular surgery in a category of it’s own; vascular surgeons typically confine their work to just vascular, while general surgeons defer endovascular cases to vascular surgeons. The specialty and separation of the fields means greater development and attention to detail is paid to complicated and unique endovascular cases. In addition to treatment, detailed knowledge of a patient’s vascular health can serve as valuable preventative care. The discoveries of how our body’s vascular system interacts with our body as a whole has led to many new methods of treatment.

 

Vascular Surgery Associates implements modern technology and methods to diagnose and treat patients. Like the field it specializes in, VSA is at the forefront of medical care.

Who is Vascular Surgery Associates

Vascular Surgery & Associates was founded more than 30 years ago and has built a tradition of bringing together some of the best trained physicians available.  From the founders Drs. Long and Lawhorn to Drs. Kaelin, Hoyne, Brumberg, Massie, and more recently Dr. Smith, only by expanding our team with surgeons specifically fellowship-trained in treating the full spectrum of vascular disease, do we put the care of our patients first and foremost.  By having expertise in each area of vascular care, we are able to treat a wide range of symptoms with both simple medical therapies to more complex operations when needed.

Vascular surgery is a subspecialty in which diseases of the vascular system, which means the arteries, veins and lymphatic circulation can be managed by medical therapy, minimally-invasive procedures and also surgical reconstruction.  What most don’t know is that with our conservative approach, we only operate 20% of the time.  The remaining 80% see patients going through various therapies such as an exercise program or medical management of their cholesterol.  This approach rewards our patients with a successful treatment plan that does not disrupt their daily lives and keeps them out of the operating room.

That said, 20% of the time we do have to increase our treatment level, and that can include surgery.   Even within that small percentage of patients, only 30% are of the more serious variety; 70% of those patients see minimally invasive operations as a treatment, and these are considered outpatient procedures.   Our state of the art, fully functional, non-invasive vascular lab is on-site and allows us to better treat our patients quickly and effectively.  This is a major part of our patient-centric philosophy, to treat each and every patient as we would want our own family members to be treated.  This and many others are the reasons we have been proud to be a part of this community for over 30 years.