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Vascular Surgeons Take Your Health to Heart
You can’t feel it, but your body’s vascular system — a complex network of veins, arteries and capillaries — is constantly at work, shuttling blood to and from your heart. Simply put, it’s helping keep you alive.
When problems develop within the vascular system, you can turn to Sutter Gould Medical Foundation’s Vascular Surgery Department in Stockton to treat these conditions, avoid complications and keep you healthy. “Our goal is to provide outstanding care for people suffering from vascular disease in San Joaquin County and surrounding areas,” says Dmitri Gelfand, M.D., the county’s sole fellowship-trained vascular surgeon.
Many Conditions Are Treated
The department offers comprehensive care for a wide variety of vascular conditions, including:
- Varicose veins. These large, puffy veins that rise above the skin’s surface are the result of faulty valves inside the veins. Pregnancy, too little exercise or being overweight can damage valves, causing blood to back up and pool inside the veins—which bulges the vein outward. Varicose veins on legs and calves can be unsightly, which is why many patients seek treatment. Sometimes, though, varicose veins can lead to pain and blood clots.
- Peripheral arterial disease. This condition sets in when plaque builds up and hardens inside the arteries in your legs. Over time, the arteries narrow. That limits blood flow to the legs, which can cause pain and numbness.
- Carotid artery disease. In this condition, plaque builds up in the carotid artery—found on each side of the neck—which disrupts normal blood flow. Untreated, it can lead to stroke.
- Aneurysm. This is a balloon-like bulge that can develop inside an artery such as the aorta, which carries blood from the heart to the body. If an aneurysm bursts, it can cause dangerous internal bleeding or stroke.
How Can Vascular Surgery Help?
With state-of-the-art surgery methods, Dr. Gelfand treats all the conditions listed above. For patients with varicose veins, for instance, he uses radiofrequency ablation. “The radiofrequency waves heat up the vein, which destroys it and eventually causes the vein to disappear,” he explains.
In treating aneurysms and peripheral and carotid artery disease, Dr. Gelfand may implant a stent, a small wire-mesh tube. It helps keep an artery open so that blood can flow freely.
When necessary, Dr. Gelfand also performs traditional open surgery to treat vascular issues that may require a more invasive approach. However, surgery isn’t always needed to correct vascular problems. With the Vascular Laboratory, Dr. Gelfand can diagnose and monitor issues affecting veins, blood vessels and arteries to determine the best treatment approach.
“If you have any kind of vascular issue, it’s important to treat it to prevent serious issues down the road,” he says. “Ask your doctor whether seeing a vascular surgeon could help.”
– Your Health magazine: Winter 2011