Happy to be Back – Hospital’s Newest Vascular Surgeon is ‘Home Sweet Home’
by Heather Vita
Dr. Matthew Ingves knew he wanted to come back to Thunder Bay – the question wasn’t ‘if?’, but ‘when?’. Having originally moved away to pursue post-secondary education following his graduation from Hammarskjold High School in 2003, he said, “Coming back to Thunder Bay was always a priority for me. My family is here, my friends are here, I’m rooted here. I love this city and the lifestyle – it’s where I’ve always wanted to be.”
Dr. Ingves used his time away from the city to train as a Vascular Surgeon. He pursued an Undergraduate Degree and then Masters Degree at Queen’s University in Kingston, which was then followed by four years of medical school at the University of Ottawa. Once becoming a physician, he spent the next five years honing his skills as a Surgeon in a five-year vascular surgery residency program at the University of Western Ontario in London.
Now back in Thunder Bay, he’s recently opened his practice and is our Hospital’s newest Vascular Surgeon – joining colleagues Dr. Mary MacDonald and Dr. Elrasheed Osman – to provide a full complement of surgeons providing vascular care.
As Dr. Ingves explained, “Vascular surgeons operate on virtually every part of the body. We’re usually doing one of three things: trying to restore blood flow to where it’s lacking, trying to repair a damaged or degenerated vessel or we’re trying to stop bleeding.” He joked, “Think of us as plumbers for your body.”
“What I like most about vascular surgery is the challenge and complexity in planning surgical approaches to give patients the best care possible,” he said. “I also find it very humbling. Because despite what may be a technically good operation, we cannot stop the disease process and a patient may still not have the outcome we are hoping for. There are many times we are able to help, however, and each case is a learning opportunity so that I can continue to give patients the best care I can offer.”
Dr. Ingves is also enthusiastic about the changes that have taken place in Vascular Surgery over the past several decades. “We’re seeing a shift to less invasive procedures, like Endovascular Aneurysm Repair (used to treat aortic aneurysms), where we use x-ray imaging to guide catheters and guide wires through blood vessels, and avoid large incisions. For patients, this means a much shorter recovery time.”
With the arrival of Dr. Ingves, our Hospital is now at a full complement of Vascular Surgeons, meaning we can provide life- and limb-saving care quickly, here at home. Especially for patients who are critical or need emergency care, having surgeons here locally is essential.
“I’ve been made to feel so welcomed since I returned,” said Dr. Ingves. “I’m both thrilled and a bit nervous at the same time to be opening my practice, but I can’t think of a better place to do it than back in my hometown.”
Donors’ Support Vital to Vascular Surgery
The addition of vascular surgery to the services provided at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre required the purchase of new medical equipment to perform life- and limb-saving care such as Endovascular Aneurysm Repair. Donors to the Northern Cardiac Fund made possible the purchase of this equipment – at a total of $554,000! As we continue to develop a full cardiovascular surgery program over the coming years (that will include both vascular and cardiac surgery), your support is vital. As a community, we are responsible for funding 100% of the equipment needed for this surgical care, along with 10% of the construction costs that will be incurred from expanding our facility. Donations to the Northern Cardiac Fund stay 100% local to our Hospital and give your healthcare professionals the tools they need to perform life- and limb-saving surgical care closer to home.
What is Endovascular Aneurysm Repair (EVAR)?
EVAR is a minimally invasive surgery used to repair an aneurysm (ballooning) in the aorta and has been available in Thunder Bay since January 2017. An aneurysm weakens the wall of the aorta and can end in the aorta rupturing with catastrophic consequences. In the EVAR procedure, a modular stent graph is inserted into the femoral artery and passed up into the weakened part of the aorta. Prior to the availability of this surgery in Thunder Bay, patients requiring this potentially life-saving procedure had to travel outside of Northwestern Ontario to access the service.