Occupational Hazards for the Vascular Surgeon

In this episode, we are fortunate to hear three interviews from guest experts in the field discussing occupational hazards in vascular surgery. We cover physical pain and discomfort with Dr. Max Wohlauer, radiation safety with Dr. Melissa Kirkwood, and pregnancy and radiation with Dr. Venita Chandra.


Dr. Max Wohlauer (@doctormaxw) is an assistant professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, as well as an associate program director of their residency and fellowship.  He founded the Vascular Surgery COVID-19 Collaborative (VASCC, https://medschool.cuanschutz.edu/surgery/divisions-centers-affiliates/vascular/research/vascc/vascc).  He obtained his medical degree from the Albany Medical College and completed general surgery residency at the University of Colorado followed by vascular surgery fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Melissa Kirkwood is an associate professor at the UT Southwestern Medical Center and chief of the division of vascular surgery. She completed her medical degree at Yale University School of Medicine, followed by a general surgery residency at The University of Chicago, and vascular surgery fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center. One of her major research interests is radiation dose control and novel technology for decreasing radiation exposure.

  • Dual fluoroscopy with live-image digital zooming significantly reduces patient and operating staff radiation during fenestrated-branched endovascular aortic aneurysm repair: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2020.05.031 
  • Disposable, lightweight shield decreases operator eye and brain radiation dose when attached to safety eyewear during fluoroscopically guided interventions:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2021.11.067 
  • Radiation brain dose to vascular surgeons during fluoroscopically guided interventions is not effectively reduced by wearing lead equivalent surgical caps:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2017.12.054 

Dr. Venita Chandra (@ChandraVenita) is a clinical associate professor at Stanford University as well as the program director for vascular surgery residency and fellowship. She obtained her medical degree from the University of Chicago followed by general surgery residency and vascular surgery fellowship at Stanford University. She also completed a technology development fellowship in the Stanford Biodesign Program. She is part of the SVS Wellness Task Force and has an interest in radiation safety in pregnancy.

Host Introductions:

Dr. Matt Chia (@chia_md) is in his 6th year in the integrated vascular surgery program at Northwestern University. He obtained his medical degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine, and also holds a Master’s in Health Services and Outcomes Research from Northwestern. 

Dr. Jessie Ho (@JessieHo_) is in her 4th year general surgery resident at Northwestern University. She obtained her medical degree from the Texas A&M College of Medicine, and is completing a Master’s in Clinical Investigation at Northwestern.


Authors: Matt Chia, MD, MS, Jessie Ho, MD, Janhavi Patel, BMSc

Editor: Matt Chia, MD

Reviewers: Sharif Ellozy, MD, Adam Johnson, MD