“Vascular Surgery: More than just glorified plumbing and pipes?”
Vascular surgery encompasses the treatment of disease processes that affect blood vessels throughout the body outside of the heart and brain. This challenging spectrum of conduits that are intervened upon range in size from the aorta to microcirculation at the distal finger and toe tips. A revolution has occurred in our specialty over the past two decades, fueled by collaboration between clinicians, engineers, and entrepreneurs. Endovascular surgery now refers to treatment of all the same disease processes but from within the vessel. Development of ideas such as miniaturization, navigation, remote access, and flow all have obvious corollaries to the engineering world. The concept that vascular surgery was simply plumbing and replacement of pipes has given way to the modern field of restoration of vessels. We will review the evolution of the specialty, introduce concepts of innovation within the specialty, and identify needs for the next decade to improve the care of patients with vascular disorders.