Surgery vs. Less Invasive Procedures

The difference between having surgery and a less invasive (endovascular) procedure is your doctor's approach. Surgery requires an incision. Less invasive procedures do not require large incisions. Your surgeon uses small incisions and works through thin, flexible tubes (catheters) and tiny surgical instruments to reach the areas that need treatment. These procedures are safe and can lead to less pain and scarring, a quicker recovery and a lower risk of complications than traditional surgery.

Talk to your doctor about whether you’re a good candidate for a less invasive treatment for your condition.

Treating Vascular Disease

Vascular surgeons treat diseases affecting your blood vessels through various minimally invasive vascular procedures.

You can get treatments for spider veins, sclerotherapy, and advanced care for clogged carotid arteries, transcarotid artery revascularization (TCAR).

Treatments for Clogged Arteries

Over time, calcium and plaque (fat) can build up in your arteries, slowing blood flow to your limbs and major organs. Treatment can reduce pain and prevent serious injuries, like a stroke. AnMed vascular surgeons are skilled in several approaches to opening up narrowed arteries and restoring your health. 

Angioplasty & Stenting

To perform angioplasty, a vascular surgeon inserts a tiny balloon into a blood vessel and guides it up to the site of a blockage. There, the balloon inflates, widening the artery. The surgeon then places a tiny tube called a stent in the blood vessel to keep it open.

Angioplasty and stenting can treat arteries that supply blood and oxygen to your legs, kidneys, brain and other parts of the body. This treatment uses only a tiny incision, so it’s less invasive than surgery and leads to a quicker recovery. 


Atherectomy is a minimally invasive treatment that uses a tiny blade to cut through plaque. A vascular surgeon inserts the tool through a large artery in your upper thigh and guides it to the site of the blockage. After breaking up the clog, the surgeon may place a stent (tiny tube) to keep the artery open. 

This procedure doesn’t require a large incision, and you can usually return to your activities within a few days. 

Peripheral Artery Bypass Surgery

If arteries in your legs are clogged, but you’re not a candidate for atherectomy or angioplasty, a vascular surgeon may recommend bypass surgery. This procedure starts by taking a healthy blood vessel from another part of your body. Then, the surgeon uses the healthy vessel to create a new path for blood to flow around the narrowed arteries. After you recover, you may experience less leg pain and fewer other symptoms of peripheral artery disease (PAD).


Endarterectomy surgically removes plaque from your peripheral (leg) arteries or your carotid (neck) arteries, which send blood to your brain. A vascular surgeon makes an incision over the blocked vessel and clears out built-up fat with a special tool. After a few weeks, you should be able to return to your usual daily activities. 

Aneurysm Repair

An aneurysm is a weak, bulging area in an artery. If it bursts, it causes internal bleeding—a medical emergency. To prevent a rupture, a vascular surgeon may perform:

  • Endovascular aneurysm repair – Requires only a tiny incision to place a miniature tube called a stent at the weak area and reinforce the blood vessel 
  • Open aneurysm repair – Uses a larger incision to replace the aneurysm with a graft, an artificial piece of an artery

Talk to Your Doctor

If you have a question about your vascular procedure, call your surgeon’s office.

Need to see a vascular surgeon? Ask your primary care provider for a referral or call AnMed WellnessConnect at 864-512-3748 for help finding a doctor.