The six Ps of vascular surgery


Vascular Surgery has evolved to balance clinical medicine, open and minimally invasive surgical interventions, and innovation into a unique career where technological advancement is constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible in surgical capabilities.

Being awed and inspired by the Vascular Surgery specialty, we have put together the 6Ps for pursuing a career in Vascular Surgery in the spirit of the notorious 6Ps for acute limb ischemia.

1. Patients: Vascular patients are a unique and complex population of patients burdened with numerous comorbidities. Approaching and managing vascular patients requires a good understanding of preoperative medical assessment, risk factor modification, and clinical medicine. Moreover, the nature of vascular disease allows vascular surgeons to develop longstanding relationships with their patients and their families, and follow them through numerous stages of their illness and recovery.

2. Procedures: Performing vascular surgery is a delicate and exhilarating experience operating on arteries, veins, and lymphatics virtually in every part of the body, from the neck, chest, abdomen, and upper and lower limbs. We perform complex procedures from minimally invasive routes to intricate open procedures. Vascular surgeons offer lifesaving, limb-salvaging and quality of life-improving procedures on a daily basis.

3. Problem solving: As medical students and residents can appreciate in vascular teaching rounds, there is never one answer to a clinical situation. Each particular case may be considered through multiple approaches – open surgery, endovascular surgery, hybrid surgery, or medical management. Strikingly, within each category there are further numerous options to consider. Trying to develop the solutions and clinical judgment around a case is what makes this specialty tantalizing. 4. People: Vascular surgeons are the nicest group of surgeons we have ever worked with (there might be a large bias in this statement). They are passionate about their specialty, dedicated to patient care, enthusiastic to teach students, and always easily approachable. We have both been fortunate to be mentored by vascular surgeons and as such decided to pursue careers in this extremely patient-centered field. Given that it is a small community, it truly feels like you are part of the vascular family.

5. Potential: Technology is advancing at an extraordinarily fast pace and the vascular community fosters innovation from preventative strategies, new imaging modalities, and new graft designs just to name a few. The big question is, where will the vascular specialty be in 10 years? And our belief is that it depends on the limits of our imagination. We need to challenge conventional thinking with courage and imagination, bringing innovation to the health care platform.

And finally, one should pursue a career in vascular surgery because it is simply …

6. Pretty awesome.

As the frontiers of science and technology push forward, so too do the ideas, creativity, and innovation of talented people. Our hope is to be at that cutting edge leading the development of improved medical care and surgical delivery as vascular surgeons.


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