A Brief History of Vascular Surgery Division
The Department of Surgery was established in 1965. We owe our foundation to the traditions established by Dr. Owen
Wangensteen at the University of Minnesota. The founding surgical chair of the Department, Dr. J. Bradley Aust,
recruited a group of initial faculty surgeons all trained in Minnesota.
In 1994, Dr. Merrill Sykes was named the first Professor and Chief of Vascular Surgery creating a division under the Department of Surgery. This service incorporated the Vascular Surgery section at the Audie L Murphy VA Medical Center. Under his leadership, Intersocietal Accreditation for Vascular Testing (ICAVL) was granted in 1995 for the Vascular Diagnostic Testing Laboratories.
Seven years later in 2001, Dr. Boulos Toursarkissian was named Professor
and Chief of Vascular/Endovascular Surgery. Under his leadership, the Division expanded to serve patients throughout
South Texas. Dr. “T”, as he is known by patients and staff alike, worked diligently to expand the Division to meet
the needs of an aging population with peripheral vascular disease. The division expanded to the Christus Santa Rosa,
Baptist and Methodist Health care systems. Outreach clinics were offered in Del Rio and Uvalde.
During this time the division developed an Outcomes, Clinical Trials and Basic Science research program with NIH, VA and DoD funding. The
Vascular Center at University Hospital gained a reputation as a referral resource serving the very wide geographic
area of South Texas dealing with complex vascular problems. In 2014, the Division began a Vascular Surgery Fellowship
program with Dr. Lori Pounds serving as the founding Program Director. In 2016, the clinical activities of the
Division transitioned to the South Texas Center for Vascular Care highlighting the broad areas of vascular medicine,
imaging and surgery it now offers and its geographic reach.
The Division has had some notable clinical “firsts” as it has built up to serve the South Texas and San Antonio Communities”
- First Endovascular Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm repair in the South Texas area
- First comprehensive carotid artery stenting program
- Placement of the first Zenith AAA stent in the State of Texas
- First Thoracic Aortic Endograft surgery performed in San Antonio and South Texas
- Placement of first CardioMEMS AAA pressure sensor in South Texas
- Placement of the first Fenestrated Endovacular Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm repair in the South Texas area
- Establishment of the first Aortic Treatment Center for South Texas
- Establishment of the first Advanced Dialysis Access Program for South Texas
- Establishment of the first Multidisciplinary Limb Salvage Center for South Texas
- Establishment of the first Thoracic Outlet Treatment Center for South Texas
Today, the Vascular /Endovascular division continues to be an essential component of the Surgery Department under the direction of
Dr. Ronald Stewart. Dr. Mark G. Davies, Professor and Interim Chief, joined UTHSCSA Vascular Division in 2015 bringing vast
knowledge and expertise in Vascular Disease. The Vascular division currently has nine faculty and mid-levels that provide
surgical interventions and treatment of vascular disease. Presently, we see patients in numerous sites throughout San Antonio.
As a patient centered division, the vascular center will continually elevate the quality of care and improve patient outcomes.