At MedStar Franklin Square’s Endovascular Suite, advanced techniques improve patient care and outcomes every day. Our experienced vascular surgeons use non-invasive tests, advanced surgical techniques, and minimally invasive endovascular procedures to more effectively treat a wide range of vascular problems.
Learn more about our vascular treatments, including:
An aneurysm is a blood-filled, balloon-like bulge in a weakened artery caused by the pressure from blood flow. Aortic aneurysms occur in the aorta, the main artery of the heart. There are five types, depending on the location in the body:
- Abdominal aortic aneurysms occur in the section of the aorta that passes through the abdomen.
- Thoracic aortic aneurysms occur in the chest area. They may involve the aortic root, ascending aorta, aortic arch, or descending aorta.
- Thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms occur in the aorta as it passes through both the abdomen and chest.
- Extremity aneurysms occur in the groin (femoral aneurysm) or behind the knee (popliteal aneurysm)
- Visceral aneurysms that can occur on arteries to the spleen, the liver or the intestines.
Surgery often is required to treat aneurysms. If left untreated, aneurysms could burst, a potentially fatal situation, can clot or embolize sending blood clots down to vital organs or extremities.
- Endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR)
An endovascular treatment takes place inside your arteries. EVAR is a minimally invasive procedure using long, thin tubes called catheters that your surgeon threads through your blood vessels.
- Open aortic aneurysm repair
Open surgery in an operating room under general anesthetic is necessary when there is bleeding inside your body from an aneurysm, or when you are at risk for an aneurysm bursting.
Angioplasty is a procedure to improve blood flow through narrowed or blocked arteries of the heart. If tests show that you have narrowed arteries, angioplasty can relieve your extremity pain and keep your arteries from narrowing further. It also can help prevent limb loss and improve your overall quality of life. Your doctor has two options for this procedure:
Using a catheter with a balloon attached, your doctor threads it to where the arteries are narrowed or closed down. Once the catheter is positioned over the blockage, your vascular surgeon inflates the tiny balloon. The pressure causes the plaque blocking the artery to split and compress, molding it against the artery wall and restoring blood flow. Once the blockage is cleared, the physician deflates the balloon and removes the catheter.
Often, a mesh tube called a stent is placed in the artery during the procedure. When the balloon inflates, the stent expands, supporting the artery wall and reducing the chances of the artery becoming blocked again. Sometimes a drug-eluting stent is used to release medications into your artery and prevent your artery from becoming blocked with scar tissue.
Some blockages are too long or too complicated for the balloon technique to be effective. In this case, your doctor may opt to use laser angioplasty. The laser directs a cool beam toward the blockage through a catheter in the lower extremity. The laser beam vaporizes the plaque causing the blockage, changing it to gases and water. A balloon angioplasty may follow laser angioplasty.
An atherectomy cuts away the plaque responsible for blocking or narrowing an artery. Your doctor can use a few different devices depending on the location and severity of the blockage.
- Directional atherectomy uses a catheter with a small, mechanically driven cutter that shaves the plaque and stores it in a collection chamber. This device is effective in large arteries with soft blockages.
- Extraction atherectomy uses a special catheter, called a transluminal extraction catheter (TEC), which has a rotating cutter. The device removes plaque particles through a vacuum suction system while it cuts.
- Rotational atherectomy uses a high-speed rotating diamond chip burr, called a Rotablator®, which mashes plaque into very small particles. These particles can usually pass harmlessly through the coronary arteries. This device works best on hardened calcified blockages.
Although it may be performed on any artery, this procedure most commonly treats carotid artery disease (carotid endarterectomy). In an endarterectomy, the surgeon opens the artery and removes the blockage. This type of open surgery is best for short blockages.
A stent is a small mesh tube or stainless steel metal coil used to prop up weak arteries. A doctor may also insert a stent to improve blood flow or prevent an artery from bursting.
- Carotid stents treat arteries delivering blood to the brain.
- Stents to abdominal organs such as kidney and intestine improve circulation to those organs
- Stents to arteries in the legs complement balloon angioplasty and improve circulation to the lower extremities preventing limb loss
- Blocked arteries that cannot be opened up with atherectomy and angioplasty can be treated by performing a bypass around the diseased area.
- Bypasses are intended to restore the circulation to limbs that have compromised blood flow
- Bypasses are performed with the patient’s own tissue (saphenous vein), artificial tube made out of Teflon or Dacron, and sometimes cadaveric veins are also used.