After a year of preparation, the official opening of the OBEL (Office Based Endovascular Lab) in September 2019, ushered in a new paradigm for streamlined outpatient care at Baylor College of Medicine. The OBEL clinic, which provides patients the option to have traditionally hospital-based procedures performed in an efficient outpatient office-based setting, quickly became very busy with patients seeking high-quality, high-service attention.
As a comprehensive, full-service vascular surgery practice, the OBEL clinic offers in-office consultation, vascular imaging, vein procedures and excellent post-operative care, eliminating the need for hospital visits in most cases. The immediate success of the clinic is reflective of a growing trend across the country. Grand View Research estimates that growth in the number of office based labs in the United States will approach 10 percent from 2019-2026. As Dr. Miguel Montero, associate professor in the Division of Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy, explained, "Over the last 30 years, vascular surgery has evolved from a specialty that would make large incisions to access and fix blood vessels, to one where we do most cases minimally invasively. With today's technology we are now able to fix very complex issues with tiny incisions. This makes for a much better patient experience. Because the the impact on the body is so minimal, the recovery is much shorter and less painful."
While the hospital setting is still very important for high acuity or complex cases, surgeons in the OBEL clinic are able to perform certain procedures in the lab and then send the patient home at the end of the day, while preserving safety, quality, and efficacy of care. Some of the common conditions treated in OBEL include peripheral arterial disease, claudication, hemodialysis access failure, venous insufficiency, varicose veins, and deep vein thrombosis (DVT).