In order for wounds to heal, they need adequate blood supply to the surrounding tissue. But some conditions, such as diabetes and peripheral arterial disease, can affect blood flow and hinder the body’s ability to heal properly. In some cases, minimally invasive vascular procedures can restore blood flow and improve circulation to promote healing.

Doctors use ultrasound, X-ray and other imaging technologies to guide a catheter (a thin, flexible tube) with specialized instruments to the problem area. These procedures only require a small incision where the catheter is inserted into an artery, resulting in less pain and a quicker recovery. In addition to restoring blood flow to treat non-healing wounds such as diabetic ulcers, minimally invasive vascular techniques may be used to treat everything from atherosclerosis and strokes to deep vein thrombosis and varicose veins.

Advanced Vascular Techniques

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s vascular specialists use a variety of minimally invasive catheter-based techniques to treat vascular conditions, including:

  • Angiography – This procedure uses an ultrasound or other imaging technology to diagnose blockages and blood vessel problems. Your doctor uses a catheter to enter the blood vessel and introduce a special dye to make the artery or vein visible on a computer monitor.
  • Angioplasty and stenting – Your doctor may perform angioplasty to open blocked or narrowed blood vessels by inserting a very small balloon into the vessel and inflating it. In some cases, your doctor may use a stent — a small mesh-like tube — to hold open narrowed vessels.
  • Embolization – To stop internal bleeding or block blood flow from a particular area — such as a tumor or aneurysm — your doctor can use a catheter to deliver clotting agents directly to the area.
  • Thrombolysis – Your doctor uses a catheter to dissolve blood clots by injecting clot-busting drugs at the clot site and restore blood flow. Doctors can also use a catheter fitted with a laser to break up the blockage.

Catheter-based techniques can also be used to drain an abscess from an internal infection or perform a needle biopsy as an alternative to a surgical biopsy.

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Wound Center team uses minimally invasive techniques whenever possible to enhance wound healing. However, our doctors have the expertise to perform even the most complex surgical reconstruction when necessary. With Ohio State’s Comprehensive Wound Center, you can depend on a full spectrum of care and expertise from a multidisciplinary team that specializes in wound care.

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