The Difference Between a Vascular Surgeon and a Cardiac Surgeon

December 1, 2018

Both vascular and cardiac surgeons deal with the circulatory system, but what makes their specialties different? Your body is a complex network of blood vessels, arteries, and the heart, that keeps the blood flowing throughout your body. When something in this network is not functioning properly, you should seek the advice and consultation of a specialist. Your general practitioner or an ER doctor can refer you to the proper surgeon or specialist. 

Differences Between Vascular Surgeons and Cardiac Surgeons

Vascular Surgeon

A vascular surgeon specializes in blood vessels and veins that are not associated with the heart. These vessels run through your arms, legs, and all appendages with a focus on circulating nutrients and oxygen to all parts of your body. A surgeon who specializes in this field has extra training directly related to blood vessel surgery. Such surgeries include, but are not limited to: 

  • Arterial bypass grafts
  • Endarterectomies
  • Aneurysm repair
  • Repair of a blockage or rupture that supplies blood to the organs and limbs

Cardiac Surgeon

A cardiac surgeon specializes in blood vessels and arteries, but specifically those associated with the heart. As the organ that pumps the blood through this network of veins, arteries, and blood vessels, it’s vital that the heart functions properly. A surgeon who specializes in cardiac surgery has extensive training in heart-related surgeries. Such surgeries include, but are not limited to: 

  • Pacemaker insertion
  • Treatment of congenital heart defects
  • Repair or replacement of heart valves
  • Coronary artery bypass surgery
  • Heart transplant

Why Should You Consider a Vascular Surgeon?

Although a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of vascular disease, there are some conditions that unequivocally require a diagnosis and treatment by a vascular specialist. The only areas of the body that a vascular surgeon does not treat are the brain and heart. Your general practitioner may refer you to a vascular surgeon if you experience:

  • Pain and swelling in your legs, sometimes caused by spider veins and varicose veins
  • A blood clot in one or more deep veins, referred to as deep vein thrombosis
  • Injury or trauma to the arteries and/or veins

A diagnosis based on medical history, symptoms, and testing can confirm vascular disease including peripheral artery disease (PAD), where the arteries become narrow or blocked and reduce blood flow. Patients with other types of vascular diseases may also need the expertise of a vascular surgeon.

Coastal Vein and Vascular Specialists in Palm Beach Gardens provides vascular and vein surgical and non-surgical treatment options. From the treatment of PAD to an amputation prevention program, our vascular experts focus on the needs and comfort of their patients using minimally invasive technologies. Our surgeons, nurses, and staff stay up-to-date on the latest medical techniques so they can offer a variety of specialized treatment options. Call our office to schedule an appointment for an evaluation of your vascular issues. Don’t let vascular disease get the best of you – seek our professional opinion based on years of experience providing vascular treatments and surgical procedures.