Limb Salvage in Lafayette: Get a Second Opinion

PAD and AmputationFor patients, limb salvage can mean not only saving a limb, but saving their quality of life and extending their life expectancy. It can also mean saving a great deal of money, as not only the amputation, but the home renovation and resources needed afterwards can be costly. If you are facing a limb amputation, consult a limb salvage specialist at Cardiovascular Institute of the South (CIS) to get a better understanding of your options and how we can help you.

What Is Limb Salvage?

Limb salvage can involve a series of surgical procedures to prevent amputation. For those who suffer from peripheral vascular disease (PVD) and/or critical limb ischemia (CLI), treatment options are available to improve blood flow and reduce the risk of amputation. These include angioplasty, atherectomy, stenting and bypass.

Peripheral Vascular Disease and Critical Limb Ischemia

Of the nearly two million people living in the U.S. who have had their limbs amputated, 54 percent had amputations due to peripheral vascular disease. This condition occurs due to blockages in the vascular system affecting the limbs, and it most commonly impacts the legs. These blockages restrict blood flow and can cause several symptoms, but the symptoms aren’t always easy to notice early on. They include:

  • Slowed Toenail Growth
  • Slowed Hair Growth on the Feet and Lower Legs
  • No Pulse or a Weak Pulse in the Legs or Feet
  • Feelings of Numbness in the Legs
  • Feelings of Coldness in the Lower Legs or Feet
  • Sores on the Lower Extremities That Heal Slowly or Not at All

Critical limb ischemia is an advanced version of peripheral vascular disease in which several arteries suffer blockages, significantly reducing blood flow to the lower limbs. Like PVD, the symptoms of CLI can be difficult to notice initially, which is why one of the first clear signs is often stroke or transient ischemic attack. The following symptoms are associated with critical limb ischemia:

  • Feelings of Numbness in the Feet
  • No Pulse or a Weak Pulse in the Legs or Feet
  • Thickened Toenails
  • A Continuous Burning Sensation in the Lower Extremities
  • Wounds on the Ankles and/or Feet That Heal Slowly or Not at All
  • Gangrene

Both peripheral vascular disease and critical limb ischemia can require limb amputation if left untreated. Those most at risk include individuals above the age of 50 (PVD) or 70 (CLI), diabetics, and smokers, as well as those living with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and a family history of cardiovascular disease. But, amputation isn’t always the answer, which is why it’s important to get a second opinion from a limb salvage specialist before making this life-altering decision.

Limb Salvage Treatment: Understand Your Options

There are several treatment options available to help patients avoid limb amputation. Depending on the blockage, less-invasive endovascular procedures can be used to treat affected blood vessels. And the recovery time for endovascular treatments is typically much shorter than what is required for surgical procedures. Here are a few common endovascular limb salvage treatments.

Angioplasty—A small puncture is made in the groin area, and a balloon is inserted to target the diseased blood vessel. The balloon is then inflated with saline to dilate the vessel and improve blood flow.

Laser Atherectomy—A laser probe is inserted to incinerate small amounts of plaque within the blood vessel, helping to clear up the blockage.

Directional Atherectomy—A small rotating blade is inserted through a catheter and used to clear up the plaque within the blood vessel.

Cutting Balloon—A catheter balloon with microblades expands to cut the surface of the plaque. This reduces the force required to expand the blood vessel and improve blood flow.

Stent—A mesh tube is inserted into the blood vessel to provide continued support.

However, there are times when endovascular treatment won’t be an option due to the severity or location of the blockage. When this happens, a surgical limb salvage procedure may be the best choice. This can include bypassing the diseased blood vessel with a vein from the patient or a synthetic vascular graft. Unlike endovascular treatment, recovery from a surgical limb salvage procedure can take weeks instead of days.

Considering Limb Salvage in Lafayette?

If you are facing an amputation, consider a second or third opinion. Amputation should only be a last resort. Consult Cardiovascular Institute of the South and schedule an appointment at a CIS clinic nearest you.

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CIS Staff

Written by CIS Staff