Skin and Veins
For patients who have kidney failure, a procedure called dialysis is used to cleanse the blood of waste products. This process requires an access point so the blood can be sent to a filtering machine and then returned to the body. An arteriovenous fistula, which creates a connection between a larger vein in the arm to a nearby artery, is often created for this. Your kidney doctor will often refer you to a surgeon for this procedure or for an arteriovenous graft, which is used for longer term dialysis access.
LIPOMAS AND CYSTS
Excisions for “lumps and bumps” are minor surgical procedures for lesions found in or just under the skin (subdermal). Warts, moles, cysts or benign fatty growths (lipomas) can appear anywhere on the body. Pilonidal (tailbone) cysts sometimes require surgical drainage or removal. These types of surgeries, depending on the size and location of the lesion, can often be done in the office.
Other serious skin conditions such as hidradenitis may be treated with a combination of medication and surgery. Surgical treatment can involve draining lesions or removing them. For deep wounds, a skin flap may be utilized to help close the wound.
Patients diagnosed with skin cancer are often referred to a general surgeon for removal of the cancer, depending on the size, type and location of the lesion. Melanomas, the most aggressive form of skin cancer, require not only the surgical excision of the cancer, but also a margin of normal skin around the lesion. Depending on the depth and thickness of the melanoma, an outpatient surgery is often needed. In addition to removing the cancerous lesion, our surgeons may recommend a lymph node biopsy.
VARICOSE VEINS AND VENOUS INSUFFICIENCY
Veins use a network of one-way valves that push blood back to the heart. When a valve becomes faulty, the blood becomes difficult to push through the vein and can pool in an area, which then increases the pressure in that part of the vein and causes the vein to bulge. For most patients this is simply a cosmetic concern. However, varicose veins can be accompanied by swelling, burning, itching and pain. Skin ulcers can develop, which can be an indication of insufficiency in the deeper vein system.
There are a variety of treatments from elevating your legs and wearing compression stockings to surgery. Surgical treatment can involve removing the vein (phlebectomy), stripping the vein, or using heat to close the vein (ablation). Our surgeons use a minimally invasive ablation treatment called the VNUS closure procedure which can be performed in our Butte location. A study of the deeper vein system is required before a patient is considered for any surgical technique.
Occlusive vascular disease, characterized by a narrowing or blockage of an artery, can develop anywhere in the body. Symptoms depend on location and severity of the blockage. Treatments range from quitting smoking and weight management to controlling blood pressure and cholesterol with medications. In severe cases, surgical bypass may be needed to improve blood flow to the affected extremity.