January 7, 2021

Naslund to step down as head of Vascular Surgery; division to become department

Thomas Naslund, MD, professor of Surgery, will be stepping down as chief of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s division of Vascular Surgery, a role he has performed adeptly for 21 years.


by Jill Clendening

Thomas Naslund, MD, professor of Surgery, will be stepping down as chief of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Division of Vascular Surgery, a role he has performed adeptly for 21 years.

Thomas Naslund, MD

He will continue in his current role until a national search identifies his successor, and during the transition the Division of Vascular Surgery will become a fully integrated department within the Section of Surgical Sciences.

“The consummate surgeon’s surgeon, Dr. Naslund has built an innovative group of the highest quality,” said Seth Karp, MD, H. William Scott Jr. Professor and chair of the Section of Surgical Sciences. “We look forward to his continuing in his role as a master clinical surgeon and teacher.”

Naslund has had a distinguished career at VUMC spanning 30 years. He was recruited to join the faculty as an assistant professor of Surgery in 1992, was promoted to associate professor in 2001 and to professor in 2009. He has served as division chief of Vascular Surgery since 1999. Naslund also held appointments at the Nashville Veterans Affairs Medical Center as chief of Vascular Surgery and as an attending surgeon at Nashville General Hospital.

He is an international expert in the management of aortic aneurysms using both endovascular and conventional open surgical techniques. In particular, he pioneered the use of stents for the management of abdominal and thoracic aortic dissections and aneurysms. He brought these techniques to VUMC and helped disseminate the technology to other centers of excellence throughout the United States. Over the past 25 years, he and his team have also provided national leadership in the treatment of vascular graft infection.

“There is no doubt that our Vascular Surgery program would not be where it is today, at the forefront of practice in the United States, without the steadfast leadership of Dr. Naslund,” said Carmen Solórzano, MD, chair of the Department of Surgery and John L. Sawyers Professor of Surgical Sciences. “We are incredibly grateful for his unwavering dedication to delivering the best possible care to our patients and to mentoring junior surgeons as they continue to develop life-saving innovations in this field.”

During his years as chief of Vascular Surgery, Naslund built an accomplished division faculty, who combined have more than 78 years of experience in providing care for patients with all vascular diseases and conditions. Areas of particular excellence include the treatment of peripheral arterial disease, carotid disease, visceral and renovascular disorders, symptomatic varicose veins, as well as aneurysm disease of the thorax, abdomen, and extremities, and all aortic pathology. The group provides complex care in vascular surgery and performed more than 1,500 cases in 2019.

For 25 years, Naslund served as the medical director of the Vanderbilt Vascular Lab operating within the Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute (VHVI) that supports noninvasive diagnostic efforts as well as ultrasound-directed vascular intervention. He led the efforts in the lab’s attaining accreditation from the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC).

“Dr. Naslund’s expertise has allowed him to make lasting contributions to the field of vascular surgery here and across the nation. He and his team continue to miraculously save some of the most fragile patients we treat through advanced techniques he helped pioneer. I want to thank Tom for his many contributions over the past two decades as he continues to provide outstanding care to the patient we serve,” said C. Wright Pinson, MBA, MD, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Health System Officer for VUMC.

Naslund is the recipient of multiple awards and distinctions including the Harwell Wilson Award for Surgical Excellence and the John L. Sawyers Teaching Award at VUMC. In addition, his contributions at the Medical Center include serving on the Executive Committee of VHVI (2006-present) and being very active in the vascular resident/medical student training program.

He has made numerous scholarly contributions to medical literature and is a member of many leading professional and academic organizations, including the Association of Chairs in Vascular Surgery, the International Society for Vascular Surgery and the Society for Vascular Surgery.

Naslund said he looks forward to dedicating more time to elements of his career that have always given him the most satisfaction, operating and training other surgeons.

“My primary focus will be operating and training the vascular surgery fellows,” he said. “It is the component of my work here that has always captivated my greatest interest and will now receive my full attention. I’m also going to spend time investigating some novel endovascular devices for treatment of complex aortic aneurysm and aortic dissection.”