Frequently Asked Questions - Peripheral Vascular Associates
Frequently Asked Questions - Peripheral Vascular Associates

Frequently Asked Questions

Patient Resources

A vascular surgeon is board certified in general surgery and then completes additional training and testing in vascular surgery. They are a specialist who can diagnose and manage disorders that affect the arteries, veins and lymphatic systems specializing in the medical and surgical management of all the diseases outside of the heart and brain.A vascular specialist will perform open operations, endovascular catheter-based procedures, reconstructive vascular surgery and non-invasive vascular testing and interpretations. While a vascular specialist operates on the veins and arteries, they will not operate on the heart or the blood vessels around the heart like a cardiovascular specialist would.

A vascular specialist differs from a cardiovascular specialist.

The vascular system consists of vessels that transport essential substances to and from the different parts of the body. Vascular disease is a condition that affects the arteries and/or veins. Most often, vascular disease affects blood flow either by blocking or weakening blood vessels or by damaging the valves that are found in the veins. Blood vessels that transport oxygen-rich blood and nutrients from the heart to the rest of the body are called arteries. Arteries can become blocked through a process called atherosclerosis. A buildup of plaque, a sticky substance made up mostly of fat and cholesterol, can build up along the walls of the arteries causing them to narrow. When this occurs in the legs the blood flow is reduced and the legs do not receive the proper amount of oxygen they need. This condition is known as peripheral arterial disease (PAD).
PAD affects 8 to 12 million people in the United States. The risk of PAD increases with age. Diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity can also increase your risk for developing peripheral arterial disease. A family history of heart disease or stroke also elevates you chances for having PAD. African American and Hispanic ethnic groups are twice as likely to have PAD.
Often there are no symptoms in the early stages of PAD. Fatigue in the leg muscles that occur during activities such as walking or climbing stairs that goes away with rest is very common with PAD. You should inspect your feet for any sores or wounds that are slow to heal as well as changes in skin color (pale or blue), lower temperature of one leg compared to the other, and poor nail growth. Any of these symptoms could indicate you have circulation issues and would benefit from seeing a vascular surgeon.
If you are concerned about PAD have a discussion with your healthcare provider to review your risk factors and medical history. During a physical exam your provider will evaluate your pulses in your legs, and the appearance of your legs and feet. There are several simple noninvasive tests that can be performed. An ankle-brachial index (ABI) compares the blood pressure in the arms and legs. An ultrasound can also be done to measures blood flow to determine which arteries are narrowed or blocked. The ultrasound test can be performed in any PVA office during your appointment.
Each patient referred to our office will receive a personal evaluation and treatment plan tailored to their specific symptoms, disease location, and other health factors. Treatment can include making lifestyle changes, taking medications and in some cases having an endovascular procedure or surgery. Only when necessary will traditional surgery be recommended.
  • Driver’s license or State ID
  • Insurance information
  • Copies of any symptom related medical records (x-rays, MRIs, CT scans)
  • Medications list (if any)
During your initial visit, you will be given a comprehensive medical evaluation and asked a series of questions. The doctor will then explain if he thinks you should have a specific test or procedure and detail any treatment options you may need.
Depending on your insurance, you may be required to provide a referral in order to see our physicians. It is recommended that you call your primary care physician or your insurance company for this information or you can call our office for help.
Your insurance has determined if you have a copayment to see a specialist. PVA has patient coordinators that can assist you with any payment questions or concerns.

As a convenience to our patients we provide several services in our offices.   All clinics offer a comprehensive in-office vascular ultrasound testing labs. Several of our locations have outpatient Cath Lab interventional suites where our physicians can perform procedures previously restricted to a hospital setting. We also have an in office prosthetic department that can provide prosthetic care. All these services can potentially be performed on the same day as you appointment if allowed by your insurance provider.

PVA physicians understand that vascular disease can have a complex presentation and that the best treatment is not always straight forward. PVA physicians are available to evaluate patients and provide a second opinion and go over all of the treatment options with patients, ensuring that all of their questions are answered.

Although physicians in our clinics can see patients for spider of varicose vein issues we often refer people with these issues to the Veintec Varicose Vein Clinics – San Antonio. These clinics are owned and operated by Peripheral Vascular Associates with board certified vascular surgeon ready to assist you. They can be reached at 1-866-570-6584 or at www.veintec.com.

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  • Veintec: (866) 570-6584