“I don’t treat a society, you know- I have a community,” explains Dr. Gabriel Bietz, Vascular Surgeon at Peripheral Vascular Associates (PVA). Each patient has specific needs, he continues, which is why the team at PVA combines experience with the latest medical advancements to treat vascular disease.
Dr. Bietz and Dr. Jesus Matos are two surgeons on the team who engage with technology the most. “Part of the reason I wanted to become a vascular surgeon was this technology,” recounts Dr. Matos. When he was young, he had an interest in architecture, which stemmed from his desire to work with his hands and tools.
Dr. Jesus Matos is one of two surgeons on the PVA team. Michael Cirlos / Centro San Antonio
Dr. Matos muses that there is a real connection between architecture and vascular surgery. The work of treating arteries and veins requires detailed planning, similar to architecture. Dr. Bietz adds that the human body is much like a house, whose pipes require routine maintenance.
Deploying the latest tech is one of the most exciting parts of their day. As technology miniaturizes, it has become possible for PVA to, in some cases, diagnose and treat conditions the same day. Most operations are done through a 1mm incision, about the thickness of an ordinary paper clip.
On the tour of the facility, Dr. Bietz excitedly points out a specialized ultrasound machine which scans not from the outside, but the inside of a blood vessel. This non-invasive technique saves recovery time for the patient. “It seems subtle, but the impact is big,” he adds.
Dr. Gabriel Bietz, Vascular Surgeon at Peripheral Vascular Associates. Michael Cirlos / Centro San Antonio
The success of PVA doesn’t just come from equipment. The dynamic team consists both of tenured physicians who bring valuable experience and newer doctors who keep up with the latest technological advancements. The advantage of this mix is the ability to collaborate and overcome challenges as a team.
There are no egos at PVA, Dr. Bietz remarks. The health of any individual patient is not left up to a single doctor, but is supported by the work and ingenuity of the entire team. “I believe this is the best vascular group to work for in the country,” emphasizes Dr. Matos.
Because of the nature of peripheral vascular disease, the doctors often see patients for life. That’s why the downtown campus is built to create a comfortable atmosphere for patients. Every detail has been planned out. The murals on the walls speak to the history of not only San Antonio, but the PVA team itself. You can find the doctors and staff themselves in the paintings.
The lobby mural at PVA depicts the role of doctors in the downtown community. Michael Cirlos / Centro San Antonio
An awning over the drive protects visitors from sun and rain. And Dr. Bietz points out two glass sliding doors at the front, which give families the assurance a loved one has made it safely into the office, contrasting the winding hallways and blank walls typical of many physicians’ offices.
The doctors of course would hope that no one ever has to walk through those glass doors. Preventative care is an important conversation, and PVA is committed to helping educate the community on maintaining their health. Dr. Matos explains that healthy habits such as eating right and exercising have to start early for best prevention of vascular disease.
“I think the best things that cities can do is what San Antonio is doing,” adds Dr. Bietz. He sees opportunities in the many events which promote physical activity, such as the various runs and walks downtown to the upcoming Síclovía along the Broadway Cultural Corridor.
PVA will be at Madison Square Park during Síclovía this year, engaging with the community on health issues and raising awareness of vascular health. Because for them it’s more than a single office visit. Their relationships with the community are for life.
Dr. Gabriel Bietz and Dr. Jesus Matos (right) stand next to a specialized ultrasound machine that uses non-invasive techniques. A type of tech that saves recovery time for the patient. Michael Cirlos / Centro San Antonio
Top image: PVA Downtown San Antonio. Michael Cirlos / Centro San Antonio