Peripheral Arterial Disease refers to the development of plaque and the narrowing and/or blockage of the arteries affects blood flow to the legs and lower extremities. This condition can make it difficult for patients to walk and can lead to sores and wounds that may not heal properly. Left untreated this can progress to limb loss, coronary artery disease, heart attack or stroke.
Surgical management of PAD falls into two broad categories:
- Endovascular or minimally invasive: Procedures to restore blood flow are performed through small catheters inserted in the arteries with the aid of x-ray imaging. Techniques include everything from balloon angioplasty to atherectomy (plaque excision) and even stenting if necessary. Typically, the artery is accessed in the groin but the wrist or even the foot can be used. Many of these procedures are now safely and conveniently performed in the office setting at PCI Vascular Surgery.
- Surgical reconstruction: Sometimes, the extent of the disease precludes the use of minimally invasive techniques. In this setting, normal blood flow can be restored by cleaning out specific arteries, known as endarterectomy, or by a surgical bypass around the blocked artery using either the patient’s own vein or an artificial artery, usually made from Gore-Tex. These surgeries are performed in a hospital setting.