What they do
A vascular surgeon is a specialist in the diagnosis and surgical treatment of conditions affecting circulation and the vascular system, including the arteries, veins and lymphatic system. They do not, however, treat vascular conditions associated with the heart and brain.
Vascular surgeons perform surgery to treat varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis, atherosclerosis, aneurysms, and embolisms. They also repair vascular damage from trauma.
There are less than 20 vascular surgeons in Western Australia, most of whom work in the Perth metropolitan area.
Vascular surgeons may work for the public hospital system, their own private consultation practice, or both. They may also supervise and teach medical students, residents and registrars.
They may be required to work long shifts, odd hours and weekends. They may be required to be on-call in case of an emergency. Vascular surgeons operate in completely sterile theatre rooms and must wear protective clothing.
Tools and technologies
Vascular surgeons use a range of specialised vascular surgical instruments when operating on patients including microvascular scissors, forceps, retractors, nerve hooks and vessel clips. Outside of the operating theatre, vascular surgeons can also use technologies such as magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), computed tomographic angiography (CTA) scans, pulse volume recordings (PVRs), and doppler ultrasound. They must wear sterile surgical attire while operating.
How do I become one?
Education and training
To become a vascular surgeon, you must first become a qualified medical doctor and then specialise in vascular surgery.
To become a medical practitioner, you need to study a degree in medicine. Alternatively, you can study a degree in any discipline followed by a postgraduate degree in medicine.
Some universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.
To specialise in vascular surgery, doctors must apply to the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) to complete the Vascular Surgery Surgical Education and Training Program and ultimately receive fellowship.
To be eligible for this specialist training, on completion of the postgraduate medical degree, you must work in the public hospital system for two years (internship and residency).
Required registration and licensing
To work as a vascular surgeon in Western Australia, you will need to obtain registration from the Medical Board of Australia.