How Do You Know If You Need to Have Vascular Surgery?

A person should have vascular surgery if he has a life-threatening condition such as deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, or a dangerous aneurysm, according to the Division of Vascular & Endovascular Surgery at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center. DVT is a blood clot that often forms in the leg. It is dangerous because if it breaks off, it can travel to the lungs and threaten a person's life.

A person can suspect he has DVT if he notices his leg is swollen, tender and painful, explains UCSF Medical Center. The leg may also be discolored or warmer than normal. The doctor uses tests, physical examinations and the patient's medical history to determine whether he has DVT. Tests include ultrasound, a D-dimer test and venography.

Another potentially life-threatening condition is an aortic aneurysm, states UCSF Medical Center. This occurs when the artery balloons because its walls have become weak, and like a balloon, it is in danger of bursting. The aneurysm can be in the chest, in which case it is called a thoracic aortic aneurysm, or in the abdomen, in which case it is an abdominal aortic aneurysm. These aneurysms are often found by accident. Doctors often find them through CT scans and MRIs. Abdominal aortic aneurysms are also found by ultrasound.