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Limb Preservation

Peripheral artery disease limits blood flow to your extremities. It can lead to slow-healing wounds and irreversible tissue damage that sometimes requires amputation. 

However, expert care from Virginia Mason Franciscan Health helps many people avoid this life-altering complication. Limb preservation services can reverse advanced vascular disease symptoms so you feel better and return to your busy life.

Limb preservation in the Puget Sound: Why choose us?

You receive services from doctors specializing in limb-threatening vascular disease. We see a high volume of patients and use research-based techniques, giving you the best chances for excellent outcomes. Meet our team.

Highlights of our program include:

  • Comprehensive care: We deliver a range of therapies, including medical options that may help you avoid surgery. These offerings include drugs like blood thinners to prevent clots. Some locations have a medically supervised exercise program. If a procedure is necessary, you may be eligible for minimally invasive options that use tiny incisions.
  • Compassion: Seeking treatment for limb-threatening vascular disease can be worrisome, but it doesn’t always mean you’ll need an amputation. Our specialists understand what you are going through and give you the assurance you need. We explain your diagnosis and which treatments are best for restoring blood flow to your limbs.
  • Ongoing treatment: Even with successful limb preservation treatment, your needs may change over time. Our team is here for you with regular monitoring to catch the early signs of complications. We then deliver additional therapies to protect your limbs. You may be eligible to receive some of these services from home via virtual visits.
  • Support: If amputation is necessary, we help you get ready for the next steps of your treatment plan. You receive a referral for pre-amputation counseling to help you physically and mentally prepare for life after surgery. We may also coordinate a consultation with a prosthetist, a provider who makes artificial limbs and ensures proper fit.

Who are limb preservation services for?

You may benefit from limb preservation if you have vascular issues such as chronic limb-threatening ischemia in the setting of moderate or severe peripheral artery disease.

Our services are also for people who have symptoms that include:

  • Claudication, pain in your lower limbs that occurs with physical activity
  • Frequent infections
  • Gangrene, tissue death due to poor blood flow
  • Skin ulcers, slow-healing wounds on your lower legs

Limb preservation procedures

If medical therapies or lifestyle changes are not successful, we offer procedures that may help you avoid amputation. Vascular surgeons often use minimally invasive techniques with tiny instruments and real-time imaging to deliver therapies that improve blood flow. In some cases, an open procedure with larger incisions is more beneficial. 

Limb preservation procedures we offer include: 

  • Angioplasty and stenting: We insert a balloon in narrowed arteries to widen them and place a hollow mesh device (stent) to keep them open.
  • Bypass: Surgeons reroute blood flow around severely damaged vessels. Find out more about peripheral vascular bypass.
  • Endarterectomy: We surgically remove moderate to severe buildups of a waxy substance (plaque) from a blocked artery. Explore carotid and femoral endarterectomy.
  • Lithoplasty: This option uses special technology to break up hard, fatty deposits in your arteries and is gentler on nearby tissue.
  • Peripheral laser atherectomy: We deliver focused beams of high-energy ultraviolet light to break up artery blockages.
  • Thrombectomy: Our doctors remove blood clots and repair damage to the blood vessel.
  • Thrombolysis: This treatment involves special medications that dissolve blood clots

Contact us

Our specialists care for patients across the Puget Sound area and beyond.