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What is a PAD Procedure

The American Endovascular affiliated team of physicians is at the forefront of the detection and treatment of PAD. Our array of minimally invasive-image guided treatment options can restore blood flow and get you on the road to a healthier, happier life. Dr. Chris Donikyan explains the Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) procedure and when to see a physician.

Why is it Important to Have a PAD Consultation Earlier to Prevent Amputation?

With Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), one of the things that we look to accomplish is to diagnose it as early as possible. We want to do surveillance and monitor patients so that they don’t get to the point where the disease progresses. In the cases where there are significant signs of peripheral artery disease, including multiple lesions seen throughout their lower extremities, there are newer techniques and devices that we can use to open up blockages. In the past, these lesions have been considered untreatable and have gone to amputation. We now can salvage their legs, feet, and toes with advanced techniques and devices that enable us to open up these lesions and perform angioplasty.

Can You Describe the PAD procedure?

A PAD procedure is very planned out. Patients have gone through a significant number of tests before the exam, and we know exactly what we’re treating.

Depending on the type of lesion that we are treating or where the lesion is located in the leg, the access can be the same leg or the opposite leg. We can go up and over to treat it from the opposite side – it depends on what we’re dealing with. Sometimes in very few instances, we may have to access up in the arm and go down.

All of these steps are planned out ahead of time. We work through a little puncture in the artery that is about the size of the tip of a pen. All of our devices fit through the small opening.

Once we use our devices and clean out what needs to be cleaned out, potentially using balloons to open up these blockages and possibly stents if we have to, we use a closure device to close the puncture in the artery on our way out. This enables our patients to ambulate or walk much sooner after the procedure.

Can Patients Restore Blood Flow to Their Legs and Feet without a PAD Procedure?

There are things that we can do that are non-procedurally related. If there are issues with cramping and difficulty walking, for example, the first thing that we try to encourage is an exercise plan. We work with our patients to walk longer distances and conditioning them to do more physical activity. In some people, exercise doesn’t work, and we go through a series of tests to see exactly what the issue is. 

Difficulty walking may be caused by a blockage somewhere or a narrowing in the arteries preventing blood from getting down to their lower calves and feet. In those instances, we can perform procedures to open up those blockages and narrowings and provide better blood flow to their lower legs and feet. This allows them to walk and exercise the way they used to be able to.

What Can a Patient Expect on the Day of a PAD Procedure?

On the day of the procedure, we’ve already completed several tests to identify what it is that we’re going in to treat. We’ll know our plan of attack in terms of where our access is going to be and what tools that we will need. It is a straightforward and focused procedure. Patients arrive in our center early in the morning, and they’ll go through the intake process with our nurses including:

  • Past medical history
  • Medications
  • Review of all paperwork

Depending on what we’re doing,  if it’s not an involved case in terms of a very short lesion or something we need to treat, the procedure doesn’t take very long. Other procedures can be more time-consuming. On average, patients can expect somewhere between 1.5-2.5 hours on these procedures, and the recovery times are variable. Our patients will usually be in our recovery area about 2-2.5 hours post-procedure, but they are all same-day procedures. Recovery is typically a 24-hour period where we ask them to take it easy with no heavy lifting and no exertion, among other things. Then after 24 hours, it is business as usual. It’s a pretty easy course in terms of the procedure and recovery.

Request an Appointment with Dr. Donikyan

If you or someone you know may be suffering from peripheral artery disease, it is critically important to be evaluated by a medical professional. Please request an appointment today with Dr. Chris Donikyan at Fishkill Endovascular if you have signs of PAD.

Learn more about vascular health, prevention, and care for Peripheral Artery Disease.

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