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Semin Vasc Surg. 2006 Dec;19(4):194-9.

Advanced endovascular training for vascular residents: what more do we need?

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1
Department of Surgery, Division of Vascular Surgery, Southern Illinois School of Medicine, Springfield, IL, USA.

Abstract

In the 25 years that formalized vascular surgery training and certification has been, in effect, the treatment of patients with peripheral vascular disease has undergone dramatic changes, largely due to the emergence of a wide variety of endoluminal techniques and devices that enable minimally invasive treatment of conditions that formerly required operative intervention. Unfortunately, vascular surgeons, for the most part, were painfully slow to embrace these new and evolving technologies, which became increasingly complex as they expanded to treat virtually all vascular maladies in all peripheral vascular territories. Not surprisingly, this left vascular surgeons disadvantaged relative to other disciplines for whom these techniques were more familiar, and we have spent the better part of the last decade playing catch-up to master them and regain our role as the only specialty qualified to offer all types of therapies to our patients with vascular disease. This has caused some to question what changes need to be made in our vascular surgery training paradigm for our new trainees to attain and maintain a preeminent role in the evaluation and treatment of patients with peripheral vascular disease. While the knee-jerk response is to consider special or supplemental training programs for these advanced techniques, or even certificates of added qualifications for the more challenging of them, such as carotid stenting, we believe that all that is really needed is for the vascular surgical community as a whole, and particularly those faculty in training programs, to truly embrace these new technologies and apply them to the patients they are already rendering care to. Given the prevalence of vascular disease and overall wealth of clinical material already present in most training programs, the simple willingness to apply endoluminal therapies to our existing patient populations is all that would really be needed to insure that all future graduates of vascular surgery training programs are fully competent in all of the current endoluminal therapies and well-positioned to continue to evolve with the field. The real question to be considering, which is beyond the focus of this article, is how we are to maintain our open surgical skills in the era of minimally invasive treatment of vascular disease.

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