Vascular surgeons are uniquely qualified to manage all issues related to a patient with dialysis access. They spend on average 7 to 9 years of rigorous training in general and vascular surgery after finishing medical school. During this period they are trained in managing all aspects of dialysis access care, including its creation, maintenance, and management of complications.
Vascular surgeons are also trained and certified in the interpretation of vascular ultrasound, a non-invasive tool that aides in selecting the best access site at the time of AV fistula creation/graft placement, as well as being able to diagnose problems as they arise (narrowing of a vein that may ultimately lead to fistula/graft thrombosis).
While some patients benefit from endovascular therapies (for example, balloon angioplasty), some benefit from a traditional surgical repair (for example, repair of an aneurysm). Vascular surgeons are trained in both types of techniques, and can thus offer the best approach for the individual patient and in some cases, even perform both types of procedures at the same time (hybrid procedures).
Finally, if patients have a severe complication from their AV access, such as life-threatening bleeding or infection, it is the vascular surgeon who is called upon to address these issues emergently.
At South Bay Vascular Surgery Center & Vein Institute our vascular surgeons are fully trained in all these techniques, are certified in vascular ultrasound interpretation (Registered Physician in Vascular Interpretation or RPVI), and work closely with the patient and their referring nephrologist to establish and maintain a working AV access.