The concept of a minimally invasive approach to the treatment of vascular pathology was realized nearly 30 years ago when Charles Dotter described dilatation of atherosclerotic stenoses. Since that time biotechnology and therapeutic innovation have progressed to the point where entire medical subspecialties are based on the endoluminal treatment of diseases of the blood vessels. The most rapid progress has been made in the area of endoluminal treatment of vascular lesions, with angioplasty, stent, and stent graft deployment becoming an increasingly common method of treating various vascular lesions. Extraluminal endoscopic treatment of vascular disease has been gaining popularity, particularly for management of perforator vein incompetence associated with venous stasis disorders. Endoscopic saphenous vein harvest has become an accepted method for minimizing the length of incision required for saphenectomy. Vascular imaging has followed similar trends, with more detailed information being derived from tiny intravascular ultrasonic catheters. This article summarizes the current state of minimally invasive vascular surgery to provide the reader with an understanding of the efficacy of the various modalities. It also discusses future directions in the field.
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