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A new laser zaps through blockages to ease the pain of peripheral artery disease and appears to dramatically reduce the risk of amputation in people with diabetes.
The laser, called the CliRpath, is increasingly being used in Middle Tennessee hospitals as an alternative to bypass procedures, the use of balloons to open arteries or procedures that mechanically scrape out plaque.
"What the laser does is sort of vaporize the plaque and debris," said Dr. Marc Passman, assistant professor of surgery with the division of vascular surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
While older lasers generated heat that often damaged vessels, the CliRpath uses a cool wavelength that gives it a higher success rate and a lower rate of complications.
Elfreida Young of Murfreesboro is one of the 12 million Americans with peripheral artery disease. As with heart disease, plaque formation obstructs blood flow.
The most serious form of peripheral artery disease is called critical limb ischemia (CLI) and can result in amputations, high blood pressure, kidney failure or a ruptured aorta.
Young, 65, had the procedure done in December to ease pain caused by a 78% blockage in her right leg. She could barely walk a few blocks before the pain would make her stop.
Treatment with drugs didn't help, so laser surgery was recommended. Young says the procedure was virtually painless as her doctor threaded a catheter from an incision near her groin and vaporized the blockage. The procedure took less than two hours.
Young was able to return to work in less than a week, and was able to resume an active lifestyle....
We have had amazing success at our wound center with the use of the Silverhawk procedure. Patients have been scheduled for BKA'a by other physicians. The results are amazing for limb salvage. Check out their site. By the way I have nothing to do with this company.