Dr. Venugopal Balaji: Raising the Bar of Vascular Wellness in India

Dr. Venugopal Balaji,  Senior Consultant Vascular Surgeon

Dr. Venugopal Balaji

Senior Consultant Vascular Surgeon

Over the past decade, India has witnessed a dramatic proliferation of its medical specialties and super specialties. However, there are still a few domains that are yet to reap the much deserved recognition and momentum. Vascular surgery is one such discipline. Taking on the mantle of treating diseases related to blood vessels, veins, and arteries, vascular surgery plays a catalytic role in decreasing the rate of morbidity in the country. Considering the accelerating number of pressing issues of diabetes and other vascular diseases and eventual yet often needless limb amputations, there is a growing demand for vascular surgeons who possess genuine commitment to alleviating the concern, saving the legs and, thereby, the lives of the patients. With a distinguished career marked by successful interventions, Dr. Venugopal Balaji, an accomplished vascular surgeon and thought leader, stands as a pivotal figure amidst such a cohort of qualified specialists.

The Drive

Having completed his graduation at Madras Medical College Chennai, Dr. Venugopal Balaji secured his postgraduation in surgical training at Madras Medical College and Government General Hospital in Chennai before moving on to the UK for further academic pursuits in vascular and transplantation surgery. He became the first overseas candidate to obtain FRCS from the InterCollegiate Board of Royal Colleges in united kingdom. In the subsequent years, he got trained in endovascular surgery and pancreas transplantation in Germany and the US, respectively, adding more diversity to his academic expertise. Returning to India in 1999, he began his career at Apollo Hospitals, Chennai, where he pioneered and continues to helm a separate vascular surgical wing dedicated to enhancing the life span for patients with vascular diseases through top-notch, round-the-clock, and, most importantly, minimally invasive treatments or surgery. “We are on par with international
hospitals, which gives us robust background support and excellent results", specifies Dr. Venugopal Balaji.

According to him, not just his background training but the ever-evolving field of science and technology in vascular surgery has also been instrumental in equipping him to leverage consistent, unparalleled therapeutic care. “Traditionally, open operations were the norm for all patients, and, just like open-heart surgeries, we had to conduct bypass procedures in the leg. But today, with the realm experiencing an exponential revolution in the development of medical devices, we, as vascular surgeons, are in a unique position to make an informed decision on the appropriate course of medical interventions, including angioplasty, stent placements or open operations”, states Dr. Venugopal Balaji. The influx of new technologies, instruments, and gadgets also serves as an additional drive for Dr. Venugopal Balaji to constantly achieve the motto of his profession saving limbs and lives.

Besides elevating the standards of vascular care, Dr. Venugopal Balaji seeks to make the latest treatments readily available to the common populace

Dr. Venugopal Balaji attributes the increasing incidence of vascular diseases in India to diabetes, a condition particularly rampant in Tamil Nadu. There are a few other common vascular conditions which are prevalent in the society. While damaged vein walls and valves cause Varicose veins, which generally affects 35 percent of the population, damage to the blood vessels leads to peripheral vascular disease (PVD) impairs the blood supply to the leg, significantly resulting in limb loss for the patient. In order to curb such risks, Dr. Venugopal Balaji employs pre-operative mappings based on Doppler or angiographic tests, through which he can check the extent of the disease and affected blood vessels and determine effective treatment channels, catering to individual patient needs. “For example, in cases like critical limb ischemia, where there is a high probability of limb loss, vascular surgeons focus more on urgently revascularizing the leg, ensuring an sufficient blood supply for its survival”, explains Dr. Venugopal Balaji.

Towards the Future

Dr. Venugopal Balaji firmly believes that the key to preventing vascular diseases lies in early detection. “Reaching the right person at the right time is imperative to receiving the accurate treatment that can save the limb", shares Dr. Venugopal Balaji. Additionally, he also views the rapid expansion of technology and science as a tool to enhance his capabilities to serve society and save numerous lives. Beyond technical proficiency, he is also actively engaged in disseminating his knowledge and creating future generations of healthcare professionals. “I am glad that I came back to India to serve the country and be able to contribute to society through my service”, Dr. Venugopal Balaji adds. Moving forward, he aims to continue providing the best services and continually expanding knowledge through technological and scientific advancements. Understanding the sky-rocketing healthcare costs in the country, his overarching goal is to deliver affordable and accessible healthcare. Besides elevating the standards of vascular care, he seeks to make the latest treatments readily available to the common populace, thereby putting quality medical treatment within reach for all.