Vascular surgery is a specialty of surgery in which diseases of the vascular system, or arteries and veins, are managed by medical therapy, minimally-invasive catheter procedures, and surgical reconstruction. The specialty evolved from general and cardiac surgery as well as minimally invasive techniques.
The specialty continues to be based on operative arterial and venous surgery but since the early 1990s has evolved greatly. There is now considerable emphasis on minimally invasive alternatives to surgery. The field was originally pioneered by interventional radiologists, chiefly Dr. Charles Dotter, who invented angioplasty.
Further development of the field has occurred via joint efforts between interventional radiology, vascular surgery, and interventional cardiology. This area of vascular surgery is called Endovascular Surgery or Interventional Vascular Radiology, a term that some in the specialty append to their primary qualification as Vascular Surgeon. Endovascular and endovenous procedures can now form the bulk of a vascular surgeon's practice.
The development of endovascular surgery has been accompanied by a gradual separation of vascular surgery from its origin in general surgery. Most vascular surgeons would now confine their practice to vascular surgery and similarly general surgeons would not be trained or practice the larger vascular surgery operations or most endovascular procedures.
More recently, professional vascular surgery societies and their training program have formally separated "Vascular Surgery" into a separate specialty with its own training program, meetings, accreditation. Notable societies are Society of Vascular Surgery (SVS), USA; Australia and New Zealand Society of Vascular Surgeons (ANZ SVS). Local societies also exist e.g. New South Wales Vascular and Melbourne Society of Vascular Surgeons (MVSA).
Larger societies of surgery actively separate and encourage specialty surgical societies under their umbrella e.g. Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS). SIR (Society of Interventional Radiology) remains intimately involved with the practice of endovascular therapy. Many of its members form part of a multi-disciplinary team treating vascular disorders alongside vascular surgeons. Although in many parts of the world vascular surgeons have evolved to now work alone.