Vascular Surgery

Vascular Surgery Program
at Baylor Hamilton Heart and Vascular Hospital

The vascular surgery program and overall vascular services continue to grow in both volume and in complexity. Surgeons on the medical staff treat a multitude of vascular cases including abdominal aortic programs and thoracic aortic conditions. A vast degree of experience and sub-specialization is present within the vascular surgeons on the medical staff, as many procedures performed at Baylor Hamilton Heart and Vascular Hospital are not widely performed elsewhere. Referrals to the medical staff stem from other vascular surgeons and physicians across the country.

Vascular Surgery

Baylor Hamilton Heart and Vascular Hospital was proud to mark the 50th anniversary of the Vascular Surgery Fellowship in fiscal year 2015. More than 100 fellows have graduated from the program and gone on to provide outstanding care to patients around the world.

Quality and service excellence have always been hallmarks of the vascular specialists on the Baylor Hamilton Heart and Vascular Hospital medical staff, in addition to a commitment to offering advanced treatment options that are not always widely available.



Next Generation Procedures Today

In FY2015, Baylor Hamilton Heart and Vascular Hospital became one of only a handful of trial sites performing endovascular abdominal aortic aneurysm repairs with a groundbreaking fenestrated aortic stent graft. The new graft allows vascular surgeons on the medical staff to perform minimally invasive abdominal aortic aneurysm repair on a greater number of patients.

"The biggest limitation on being able to repair aneurysms with stent grafts has been the location of the aneurysm in proximity to major branch arteries," explains Gregory Pearl, MD, medical director of Vascular Services. "With the fenestrated procedure, we are able to treat many of those patients with a stent graft, whereas before, the only option was to do a major open operation."

Minimally invasive endovascular repair offers a range of potential benefits:

  • Two or three day hospital stay versus seven or eight days with open techniques
  • Two week total recovery
  • Fewer complications

More than 77 total elective endovascular abdominal aortic aneurysm repairs were completed in FY2015.

In addition to new endovascular repair trials, Baylor Hamilton Heart and Vascular Hospital also is home to a new trial using stem cells to treat arterial occlusions in the lower extremities. “This trial is exploring a new treatment for patients who have no other options beyond amputation,” says Dr. Pearl.

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

The slim space between the collarbone and first rib is called the thoracic outlet. Blood vessels, nerves, and muscles that extend from the back to the arms pass through the thoracic outlet. If this space is too slim, the blood vessels and/or nerves may become abnormally compressed, causing shoulder pain. The compression may also cause impaired circulation or tingling and numbness in the hands. This is known as thoracic outlet syndrome.

Causes and Symptoms of TOS

Symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome occur when the space between the collarbone and the first rib becomes too narrow. This can occur because of a variety of conditions including:

  • Having an extra rib.
  • Poor posture and obesity.
  • Injury.
  • Overuse of the shoulders and arms.

symptoms you may experience from thoracic outlet syndrome depend upon the specific nerves or blood vessels that are being compressed.

Symptoms if nerves are compressed:

  • Pain in areas of the neck, shoulder, arm, or hand.
  • Numbness in the forearm and hands.
  • Weakness of the hand.

Symptoms if blood vessels are compressed:

  • Swelling of the arm.
  • Redness of the arm.
  • Hands or arms that are cold to the touch.
  • Hands and arms that become easily fatigued.

Your range of motion in your shoulders may be restricted in addition to the above symptoms.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Your physician will determine your diagnosis by performing a physical exam and inquiring about your health history. Your physician may also order additional tests to confirm your diagnosis, such as an X-ray of the thoracic outlet or an MRI.

Treatment for thoracic outlet syndrome commonly involves lifestyle changes and medications to aid in reducing your symptoms. Physical therapy is also recommended in order to strengthen muscles in your shoulders in efforts to improve support or the collarbone. Over the counter medication such as ibuprofen may be used to help reduce inflammation and pain.

Surgical Treatment

If non-surgical treatment options are not correcting or relieving your symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome, your physician may recommend surgery. This would involve your doctor removing an extra rib (if you have one), redirecting blood vessels around the area, or removing part of your first rib, known as a first rib resection.

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