MAYWOOD, IL – Vascular surgeon Carlos Bechara, MD, has been named co-director of Loyola's Aortic Center, where cardiovascular surgeons repair life-threatening aneurysms (bulges) and dissections (tears) in the aorta, the largest artery in the body.
Dr. Bechara, who sees patients at Loyola's Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine in Maywood, will co-direct the Aortic Center along with cardiovascular surgeon Jeffrey Schwartz, MD. The center provides comprehensive care to patients, especially those with complex aortic pathology.
In addition to aortic conditions, Dr. Bechara treats other vascular conditions including carotid artery disease, peripheral artery disease and less common conditions including May-Thurner Syndrome (compression of the iliac vein in the lower abdomen), nutcracker syndrome (compression of the left renal vein that carries blood from the kidney) and arteriovenous malformations.
Dr. Bechara also provides vascular access for dialysis patients and places and removes filters (both temporary and permanent) in a large vein called the inferior vena cava. The filters prevent blood clots from reaching the lungs.
In most of his cases, Dr. Bechara uses an endovascular approach, which is much less invasive than traditional open surgery. In endovascular surgery, the surgeon inserts a catheter in the groin or an arm and guides it through blood vessels to reach and treat the diseased area with stents and other devices. Patients recover more quickly, with fewer complications and smaller scars.
"Because endovascular techniques are minimally invasive and require only local anesthesia, we can offer the treatments to more patients," Dr. Bechara said.
Dr. Bechara, an associate professor in the division of vascular surgery and endovascular therapy in the department of surgery of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, said it is very rewarding to provide treatments that can, for example, save a leg from amputation or prevent a potentially fatal aneurysm rupture.
Vascular surgery involves complex procedures. "I try to draw pictures and explain procedures as simply as possible," Dr. Bechara said. "I take time with patients and encourage them to ask questions."
Dr. Bechara earned his medical degree from the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine. He completed a residency in general surgery at Tulane Medical Center and a fellowship in vascular and endovascular surgery at Baylor College of Medicine. Before joining Loyola, Dr. Bechara worked at Baylor College of Medicine and The Houston Methodist Hospital, both in Houston. He is board certified in general surgery and vascular surgery.