Vascular Surgery

If you have a condition that affects your circulatory system—the body’s arteries and veins—you’ll be glad to know that Danbury Hospital has a team of experienced vascular surgeons who are experts in diagnosing and treating these conditions.

In fact, the Vascular Laboratory at Danbury Hospital is ranked among the top 2 percent in the nation for high-quality testing for vascular disease, and is one of just 30 in the U.S. to be accredited by the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Vascular Laboratories (ICAVL) in all five areas of vascular testing:

  • Carotid duplex
  • Transcranial Doppler (TCD)
  • Venous duplex
  • Arterial testing
  • Abdominal vascular duplex

At Danbury Hospital, you have access to the region’s most comprehensive array of diagnostic testing:

Carotid Duplex

Your doctor may order this test if you have physical examination findings or symptoms that suggest a blockage in the carotid arteries, the arteries in the neck that supply the brain with blood. Ultrasound is used to evaluate the carotid arteries. Gel is applied to the skin of the neck, then a transducer is placed on the gel-covered areas to obtain images and evaluate blood flow in the arteries.

Transcranial Doppler (TCD)

This ultrasound exam evaluates the blood vessels that supply the brain within the skull and helps determine the amount of blood flow to certain areas of your brain. It is performed with a small transducer placed on the skin of the face and head.

Venous Duplex

Your doctor may order this to evaluate the cause of pain or swelling in your legs or arms. Also called a Doppler examination, ultrasound is used to evaluate the veins that carry blood to the heart from the legs or arms. Gel is applied to the skin of the legs or arms, then a transducer is placed on the gel-covered areas to obtain images and evaluate blood flow in the veins.

Arterial Testing

Arterial Duplex

Your doctor may order this test to evaluate the cause of leg muscle pain when you are walking. This, too, is called a Doppler examination, it uses ultrasound to evaluate the arteries that supply the arms and legs with blood. Gel is applied to the skin of the legs or arms, then a transducer is placed on the gel-covered areas to obtain images and evaluate blood flow in the arms or legs.

Arterial Pressures and Waveforms

Your doctor also may order this test to evaluate the cause of leg muscle pain when you are walking. Ultrasound and blood pressure cuffs are used to evaluate the arteries that supply the arms and legs with blood. Several blood pressure cuffs are placed in various locations on the legs or arms. When inflated, the cuffs provide blood pressure readings as well as waveforms, helping to locate areas of blockage within the arteries.

Abdominal Vascular Duplex

Also called a Doppler examination, ultrasound is used to evaluate the blood vessels that bring blood to and away from the abdominal organs. The aorta, the main blood vessel in the body, is also imaged to evaluate for aneurysms or blockages. Gel is applied to the abdomen, then a transducer is placed on the gel-covered areas to obtain images and evaluate blood flow in the arteries and/or veins.

Our vascular surgeons perform these procedures using conventional “open” surgical techniques:

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm repair
  • Thoracic aneurysm repair
  • Carotid endarterectomy
  • Lower and upper extremity arterial revascularization
  • Renal and visceral arterial revascularization
  • Vascular exposure for spine procedures

With today’s advances, certain vascular procedures can be performed endovascularly (inside the blood vessels) through a small puncture wound or incision. This approach has many benefits compared to traditional open procedures, which require a larger incision and a longer recuperation time.

Percutaneous Transluminal Angioplasty (PTA) and Stenting

Following a small needle puncture in an artery in your arm or groin, a long, thin, flexible tube called a balloon-tip catheter is inserted. The catheter is guided through the arteries to the location of the blockage, where it is inflated. The balloon pushes the plaque in the artery against the artery walls, widening the blood vessel.

At this point, if the result is not optimal, your vascular surgeon may place a tiny mesh-metal tube, called a stent, into the narrowed artery to prop it open.

Endovascular Aneurysm Repair (EVAR)

This minimally invasive procedure corrects abdominal aortic aneurysms in less time than traditional open repair, and can also be done under local or spinal anesthesia. Small incisions are made in both sides of the groin, and catheters containing self-expanding covered stents are advanced under x-ray guidance to the site of the aneurysm. Benefits of this procedure include a dramatically shorter hospital stay (2-3 days vs. 7-10 for traditional open surgery) and a quicker total recovery time (one week vs. 6 weeks).

Thrombolytic (Lytic) Therapy

Arterial blockages in the arms, legs or can often be reopened with the use of drugs called lytic agents. Administered through a small catheter in the artery, lytic agents dissolve the clot, avoiding the need for surgery. Lytic therapy can also be used to dissolve clots in the large veins of the arms and legs in order to preserve the vein’s valve function and prevent pulmonary embolism (blockage of an artery in the lung).

Our vascular surgeons also perform procedures to treat varicose and spider veins:

VNUS Closure®: This catheter-based technique uses radiofrequency to seal the vein shut, and is clinically proven to cause less pain and bruising than laser or surgical treatments.

Microphlebectomy: Larger veins may be removed through tiny skin punctures. This outpatient procedure uses small incisions that do not require stitches.

Sclerotherapy: Small veins can be treated with injection of a detergent-type agent, which reroutes blood to healthier veins.