Endovascular surgery is a field in Vascular Surgery that treats circulatory problems using catheters. Catheters are thin tubes that navigate through the blood vessels guided by monitors. This kind of treatment requires smaller cuts. In many cases, only a small orifice in the groin is required. Recovery is generally faster.
Endovascular catheters can be used to treat arterial problems such as aneurysm, carotid disease, peripheral artery disease and venous problems such as varicose veins and venous thrombosis.
Aneurysms are treated by deploying a stent-graft. A stent-graft is a tube made of special material that is often reinforced with metal. The surgeon inserts grafts that are folded. When they reach the aneurysm, they unfold the graft. The graft pushes up against the walls of the blood vessel and serves as a liner. Blood flows through the graft just as it would through the vessel itself. With the graft in place, the vessel is protected from the force of the blood pressure, and that keeps the blood vessel from bursting.
In carotid disease and peripheral artery disease, the endovascular technique uses a balloon catheter. The surgeon can insert the balloon catheter and then inflate this balloon inside a blood vessel. This helps widen blood vessels that have gotten too narrow. This procedure is known as angioplasty. The treatment is often finished with a stent, which is a metal mesh tube that is left inside the blood vessel to prop it open.
Varicose veins can be eliminated with a special catheter that is equipped with laser or radiofrequency in the tip.
In venous thrombosis, endovascular techniques can dissolve the blood clots inside the vein. This is done with a special catheter and is appropriate only in selected cases.
Nowadays, most chemotherapy and hemodialysis catheters are implanted with endovascular surgery techniques.
The choice of the best treatment method for a vascular problem depends on each individual case . The best treatment for one person may not be the most appropriate for other. Endovascular surgery may not always be the best option. In many situations, the convectional technique achieves better results. The choice of the most adequate method is best made with an experienced vascular surgeon.