Vascular surgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital has a long tradition of excellence in clinical care, innovative methods of evaluation and treatment for vascular disease, education and training, and clinical and basic research in the treatment of vascular diseases. The specialty has rapidly evolved over the past decade to include an ever increasing percentage of interventions for vascular disease performed by minimally invasive or endovascular methods. Thus, the division name was recently changed to reflect the contemporary scope of vascular surgery practice to include both open conventional surgery and catheter based endovascular surgery.
The Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital treats more than 7000 patients annually, with referrals coming literally from all over the world. It is a complete interdisciplinary resource for referring physicians and patients with vascular disease of all varieties and levels of complexity. We offer the full spectrum and diagnostic and interventional medical procedures including noninvasive vascular laboratory testing, state of the art axial imaging techniques, the latest minimally invasive technologies for aortic aneurysms and arterial occlusive disease of the carotid, renal/mesenteric and lower extremity arteries. In addition, our venous disease program highlights the spectrum of contemporary minimally invasive treatments for superficial and deep venous disorders.
The history of vascular disease treatment at the Massachusetts General Hospital literally mirrors the development and establishment of vascular surgery as a distinct surgical specialty. One of the first clinics for the evaluation and treatment of vascular diseases was established at the Massachusetts General Hospital in the 1930s when direct surgical repair was literally only possible for lower extremity venous disorders. Progress continued with the establishment of the very first clinical vascular laboratory for the noninvasive diagnosis of vascular disease at the Massachusetts General Hospital in the 1940s. The standard and currently used noninvasive laboratory methods for the evaluation of arterial diseases of the lower extremities was developed at the Massachusetts General Hospital in the early 1970s and our vascular laboratory currently evaluates more than 10,000 patients per year. Direct surgical repair of disorders of the arteries began in the early 1950s and one Robert R. Linton, M.D. was the first vascular surgeon at the Massachusetts General Hospital and a nationally and internationally recognized leader in the development of contemporary arterial and venous reconstructive surgery. Advances in the specialty continued with Dr. Linton’s protégé, R. Clement Darling, M.D., whose clinical work included perfecting aortic surgery techniques and pioneering noninvasive diagnosis. His innovations and contributions to the present generation of vascular surgeons currently practicing at the Massachusetts General Hospital established our hospital as the major clinical and academic center for vascular surgery in the New England region.
The Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery continues the tradition of a disease-based specialist. Our surgeons have devoted their entire careers, beginning with residency and fellowship training to the evaluation and treatment of the spectrum of vascular diseases. While we work in close collaboration with specialists in vascular medicine, interventional cardiology and stroke neurology, the single focus of our clinical activities has been the evaluation and management of the full spectrum of vascular disease. The tradition of both the complete and diagnostic evaluation of vascular disease, now coupled with the capability of the full spectrum of open conventional surgical and minimally invasive technologies is both advantageous and convenient for patients. In addition, at the Massachusetts General Hospital, we conduct a variety of ongoing evaluations and clinical trials of the latest technologies. Appropriate patients may have the opportunity to participate in trials of unique promising therapies. These trials include abdominal and thoracic aortic stent grafts for aneurysm disease and other central aortic pathologies, carotid angioplasty and stenting and peripheral angioplasty soon to include drug eluting stent trials.