Saving Lives and Limbs

The body's network of blood vessels, containing the arteries, veins and capillaries that carry blood to and from the heart, makes up the vascular system. 

If you have vascular disease, the Vascular Surgery Program at the George Washington University Hospital can help by combining surgical expertise with advanced technology and procedures to promptly diagnose and treat a range of vascular disorders. Vascular surgeons at GW hospital use a patient-centered approach and new, minimally invasive procedures to help promote excellent outcomes and rapid recovery.

Vascular disorders could result in fatal or disabling strokes, or aneurysms. The Vascular Surgery Program at GW Hospital has the advanced equipment that physicians need to focus on early detection, treatment and prevention of circulatory problems.

Limb amputation can be a major complication for patients who have diabetes, peripheral artery disease, kidney problems or another complex condition that impairs circulation. The staff at the GW Hospital Vascular Surgery Program works closely with the Wound Care and Limb Preservation Center to treat chronic diseases and related complications in a patient's legs, such as nerve damage, infections, wounds or gangrene.

As part of the treatment process, doctors may perform minimally invasive catheter-based procedures, and use balloons, stents or other devices to restore blood flow to the legs. Minimally invasive procedures are not the right choice for every patient, so in some cases, surgeons may need to perform traditional surgery to bypass blockages in the legs.

Bypass surgery in the leg is very similar to coronary artery bypass surgery. Doctors typically take a healthy section of a patient's blood vessel, called a graft, from a different part of his or her body, and connect the healthy blood vessel to above and below the blockage. Blood then flows through the healthy vessel, bypassing the blocked area.