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Vascular Surgery: What you need to know

The Medical Council recognises 57 medical specialties for the purposes of specialist registration in Ireland. Five new specialties have been recognised in the past two years, and this article explains the specialty of Vascular Surgery, which was recognised in 2014.

Recognition of specialties leads to the establishment of new specialist categories within the medical register. It enables doctors to pursue specialist training as new training programmes are developed and to register in the specialty which best suits their qualifications and practice, and is a further safeguard in enhancing patient care

What is Vascular Surgery?

Vascular surgery is a specialty dealing primarily with diseases and abnormalities of arteries, veins and lymphatic vessels. Patients requiring vascular surgery suffer from many different vascular disorders such as aortic aneurysm, varicose veins, lymphatic disorders, diabetic foot complications. 50% of patients with vascular disease present urgently or as an emergency, many of whom require immediate complex major surgery.

Vascular surgical skills were part of the domain of the general surgeon.  The increase in the volume and complexity of vascular conditions, and the development of new minimally invasive techniques has led to the need for vascular surgery to become a separate specialty.

The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland is responsible for training, education and standards of practice in vascular surgery in Ireland. The College works in partnership with the Irish Association of Vascular Surgeons to collectively oversee and implement specialist training in vascular surgery. Following refinement of the previous training pathway, the current training pathway involves eight years of post-internship training.

Successful completion of the national training programme, leading to the award of a Certificate of Satisfactory Completion of Specialist Training, will enable doctors to register as specialists in vascular surgery on the Medical Council’s Register.

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