If your legs hurt when you walk but then feel better when you rest, chances are you have peripheral artery disease (PAD). At Southern Vascular & Pain Management, Thomas Hodgkiss, MD, diagnoses and treats PAD, offering his extensive experience performing minimally invasive procedures to open the clogged artery and restore normal blood flow. Early treatment gets you back to your favorite activities and prevents serious complications. Don’t wait to schedule an appointment. Call the office in Memphis or Union City, Tennessee, or book online today.
PAD develops when cholesterol and other fats build up in the wall of an artery. This condition, called atherosclerosis, gets progressively worse.
Without treatment, fats and calcium keep accumulating, making the plaque enlarge and harden. As a result, the plaque interferes with blood flowing through the artery.
In most cases, symptoms don’t appear until the plaque gets large enough to significantly restrict the flow of blood. Then you develop symptoms such as:
At first, your leg pain may only occur when you walk but improves if you rest. As PAD progresses, you eventually have leg pain even when resting.
When severe PAD blocks blood flow, the tissues served by that artery don’t get enough oxygen. The lack of oxygen leads to non-healing ulcers, infections, and in severe cases, gangrene.
Your treatment may begin with medications and a lifestyle plan for lowering your cholesterol and blood pressure and keeping your diabetes under control. These steps can slow down or stop the disease from getting worse.
If a vascular ultrasound shows that your artery is already severely blocked, you need a minimally invasive procedure such as angioplasty, stenting, or an atherectomy.
Dr. Hodgkiss makes a tiny incision above the artery, then inserts a thin catheter into the blood vessel. Using real-time imaging, he guides the catheter to the plaque and performs one of the following procedures:
During an angioplasty, Dr. Hodgkiss deploys a small balloon from the catheter. The balloon pushes the plaque against the blood vessel wall, effectively opening the artery and restoring blood flow. Then he deflates the balloon and withdraws the catheter.
Stenting involves placing a wire mesh into the artery. The stent is around the balloon during an angioplasty. When the balloon expands, the mesh implants into the artery wall. The stent stays in place after the balloon is removed, holding the artery open and preventing new plaque from accumulating in the same spot.
For an atherectomy, Dr. Hodgkiss uses a device that grinds away or cuts out the plaque. You need an atherectomy when the plaque is too hard for the balloon.
If you have ongoing leg pain or you need treatment for PAD, call Southern Vascular & Pain Management today or book an appointment online.