There are 20 major arteries in the human body, each with its own network of veins, vessels and capillaries.
It’s a complex system that makes it possible for blood to get to all of the areas of the body. This depth of service makes treating them a complicated — and fascinating — opportunity for those specialized physicians known as vascular surgeons.
“We never have two days that are just alike,” says Dr. Lynsey Rangel, one of three vascular surgeons serving patients at Utah Valley Vascular Surgery in Provo. “We have such a variety of cases — from complex to simple — that we get to utilize different skill sets and different approaches to each patient’s needs.”
Dr. Rangel joins Dr. Bob Smilanich and Dr. Brian Adams in the Utah Valley office, each dedicated to the effective treatment of venous disorders. Dr. Smilanich has been practicing in Utah Valley for 20 years and Dr. Adams comes to Utah Valley from the McKay-Dee Vascular & Vein Center in Ogden, where he served as the director.
“I listen to people tell me about their struggles with leg pain and walking,” Dr. Adams says. “This prevents them from doing the things they want to do to enjoy life. I am able to create a plan to assist these patients walk further without pain and to stand on their feet to do their jobs. I enjoy seeing the change in people’s lives when they no longer worry about the pain from which they suffer.”
Vascular surgeons specialize in the treatment of blood vessels except those in the heart and the brain. They fix bulging arteries (aneurysms), open blocked arteries and repair damaged vessels. But more than performing surgical procedures, vascular surgeons assist with monitoring and treating chronic conditions affecting circulation, including smoking and diabetes.
“I was drawn to vascular surgery because it gives me the chance to perform surgery, which I love, while also treating patients medically,” Dr. Rangel says. “It’s engaging for me and I appreciate the chance to maintain relationships with patients.”
Like many areas of medicine, new technologies continue to develop in vascular surgery, providing additional solutions and more favorable outcomes.
“Vascular surgery is going through a phase of very rapid technological advancement,” Dr. Adams says. “The invention of stents to treat aneurysms and blockage of the arteries led to the development of new technologies to treat these diseases. This then led to an explosive growth in many other technologies that allow vascular surgeons to treat blood vessels in minimally invasive ways.”
While patients of all kinds are treated by vascular surgeons, Dr. Adams suggests coming in for a consultation especially if a patient is experiencing leg swelling, legs that ache after prolonged periods of standing, darkening areas of skin or large varicose veins. Also, if wounds take a long time to heal or if there is severe cramping in the calf after walking a short distance or in the middle of the night, a vascular surgeon should be consulted.
Surgeons working at Utah Valley Vascular Surgery benefit from the recent completion of a hybrid operating room in the Pedersen Tower at Utah Valley Hospital.
“The hybrid rooms help us offer patients the latest technologies in treating vascular disease,” Dr. Adams says. “It was designed to allow the vascular surgeon the ability to provide the combination of open surgical techniques and minimally invasive technologies in the same surgical setting.”
Besides the main office in the Utah Valley Clinic, the surgeons are also seeing patients at the American Fork Specialty Clinic Building, adjacent to American Fork Hospital.
The Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC) oversees the awarding of crucial accreditation for clinics dedicated to superficial venous disorders.
“Insurance companies in the state have started to see the value in vein center accreditation and, subsequently, have started to require procedures be done in these centers that have done the work to distinguish themselves from other centers,” says Dr. Brian Adams, a vascular surgeon at Utah Valley Vascular Surgery who is overseeing the process for the clinic.
The process includes a self-evaluation based on IAC’s standards. Then, an online evaluation is completed, which includes detailed information concerning all aspects of clinic operation and the submission of case studies for review.
Utah Valley Vascular Surgery is working toward this key endorsement to provide the highest level of confidence for its patients.