By Benjamin Goodin
Aggressive below-the-knee arterial intervention has the capability of saving limbs. Not only does arterial intervention help a patient avoid prosthesis, but it has been clearly shown that leg amputations are associated with shortened life expectancy. At the very least, amputation robs the patients of the independence. Limb loss makes getting around more difficult, if not impossible, without complex devices and lifestyle adjustments. Loss of a lower extremity also complicates driving a car, shopping, or even just turning over in bed. For many, limb loss is a first and very major step towards life in a nursing home.
Using time-tested methods, reopening arteries below the knee and dealing with incompetent veins (which could lead to ankle ulcerations, that are painful and prone to infection) is part of the armamentarium. Utilizing contemporary techniques, repairing damaged or malfunctioning arteries helps to avoid prolonged discomfort. While the number of physicians who are developing the experience to use these newer, less complication-prone methods is increasing, it is still quite limited.
At Cardiac Thoracic & Endovascular Therapies, they have made a special effort to work with these advanced techniques, and they have seen their efforts are having a positive effect — the response from podiatrists (specialists who deal with diseases of the feet) and wound centers (facilities that help patients deal with ulcers of the feet and legs) have been especially positive. Success is not universal, but they are saving more limbs than before.
Dr. Williams, an expert in advanced techniques for lower-limb arterial repair, would like to share a few success stories of people who have come to CTET. These patients faced almost-certain amputation, but, with the help of Dr. Williams and his team, continue to have functional, usable extremities.
William C. — Princeville
I had a wound on my foot, and my podiatrist recommended I have a partial amputation. However, I had vascular disease in my legs, from the knees to the feet — blood flow was not getting to the bottom of my feet. The podiatrist wanted to restore blood flow for healing purposes before the amputation. He referred me to Dr. Williams. Dr. Williams told me that he doesn’t give up, that he didn’t want me to lose my leg, just like I didn’t want to lose my leg. He went in twice and got it done. When I saw the pink color flowing back into my feet, I knew the blood flow was good down there. Before Dr. Williams, I was pretty worried I was going to lose my foot or part of my leg without proper blood flow. I am very active for 70 years old. I get up early; I help a buddy out; I go all day. Being tied up where I couldn’t get around really had me down, especially when I was used to getting around a lot. Williams is an excellent blood vessel doctor; he got my arteries open, and my legs really feel good now.
Leonard K. — Oglesby
About seven or eight years ago had a mild heart attack, I had a Doppler test on legs afterward, and they found out that I only had one artery in each leg pumping blood. They recommended stents, and I said I’d think about it. Time went by, I felt pretty good, and I forgot about it. I was trimming my toenails one day, and I cut the cuticle. It started to bleed, and I noticed I didn’t feel anything. It healed, but I cut myself again and still didn’t feel anything. As days progressed, the toenail was getting kind of dark and it began to spread down my toe. Sure enough, it was blood poisoning, and it had got to the bone. At the bone clinic, they amputated the second toe on my left foot. Later, I cut the toenail on my right foot and the same thing happened. The wound clinic said I had a rapidly spreading infection. They told me I would lose my toe or leg if it kept spreading and it could keep happening if I didn’t have circulation to my feet. I was referred to Dr. Williams; I called him up, and he offered to meet me at 9pm the same day. He put stents in, going up from the heel up instead of the groin. If not for him, I would have had much more amputation and probably prosthesis. I’m fortunate I can still balance and walk.
Kathleen F. — Streator
Several years back, my nurse practitioner sent me to Williams. I had been to a lot of doctors. I tried to talk about my concerns, and I couldn’t quit crying. He was very patient. I’d never met a man so caring. For a long time, I had a very bad problem with arteries. Until he tested me, I had no clue the problem was in my right leg too. All the other doctors but Williams told me I would lose my leg, but he wanted to try a new technique. I was amazed he was willing to open up his eyes and his mind to new ideas and techniques, and he makes sure you are not in pain. I see him every three months, and last month he was looking at my leg. His head came up, and he had a big grin on his face — he told me it was looking good. This is a guy you want to keep; he gave me comfort. His staff, those people need some appreciation too, they’re wonderful. Janet is a dear. She called and talked to me about an illness in my family. They truly care.
Shirley W. — Peoria
I was in the hospital, with what I thought was arthritis, but my toes were turning dark. A doctor tried to investigate and open an artery in my left leg by putting the scope in from above. He wasn’t able to get further than my knee with the first attempt, and left a large blister in the back of my knee the second try. The surgeon said that it would have to be amputated, and I asked for a second opinion. A friend had read about Dr. Williams in Healthy Cells Magazine, so I consulted with him. He came to see me in the hospital and he worked with a doctor from the wound center to help me. He went in through my foot to open the arteries three times. When it was taking a long time to heal, he went in fourth time to close one. My wound was fully healed at the end of December, and I just completed physical therapy. They were very nice to work with; I have no complaints whatsoever. I avoided amputation. I walk; I get around; I drive, and my life is getting back to normal. I am very happy, and I owe it all to them.
For more information, contact Cardiac Thoracic & Endovascular Therapies, S.C., 2420 West Nebraska Avenue, Peoria.
Phone: 309-680-8666. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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