Debilitating Leg Pain Gone After Minimally Invasive Peripheral Vascular Surgery
A lifelong smoker who had previously undergone a carotid endarterectomy for plaque build-up and blockage in the carotid artery in his neck, Kevin Dougherty knew the underlying cause of his constant leg pain was likely peripheral vascular disease (PVD). The potentially serious but treatable circulation problem occurs when the vessels that supply blood flow to the legs are narrowed. PVD is typically caused by atherosclerosis, or plaque build-up inside the vessel walls.
Kevin, despite living in Bethany Beach, Del., knew exactly who he wanted to treat his condition—Edward Woo, MD, an internationally known surgeon who leads the vascular surgery program at MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute. Kevin met Dr. Woo during a previous procedure, while they were both living in Pennsylvania. In fact, Dr. Woo’s brother repaired Kevin’s congenital heart valve defect years earlier.
After confirming peripheral vascular disease with diagnostic testing, Dr. Woo brought Kevin to MedStar Washington Hospital Center. Here, he placed stents, or thin, wire mesh tubing, to help keep the vessel open in Kevin’s right upper leg.
The blockage was reached through a small puncture in the groin area. The same-day procedure in March allowed Kevin to walk out of the hospital with less pain and cramping than when he walked in.
“A lot of people may be experiencing leg pain and not know the cause of it,” explains Dr. Woo. “If you have any concerns, it is important to talk to your doctor or make an appointment to see a vascular specialist. Without treatment, severe PVD can lead to worsening conditions, including dead tissue, gangrene, and even possible amputation of a limb.”
Kevin is grateful for both Dr. Woo’s care and expertise. “The amount of respect I have for Dr. Woo and his staff is immeasurable,” he says. “He is an amazing doctor, and I would recommend him to anyone.”
“My right leg feels great,” he adds. “Before, I couldn’t even walk a block. Now I can walk a half mile or more, and I try my best to keep up with my six grandchildren.”
MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute currently has a team of experienced vascular surgeons and physicians at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, MedStar Montgomery Medical Center, MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center and MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital.
SYMPTOMS OF PERIPHERAL VASCULAR DISEASE (PVD) INCLUDE:
A change in color or temperature of the limbs
Pain or cramping in the legs when walking or at rest
Numbness or tingling sensation
A new, long-lasting sore in the foot or leg
Diminished pulses in the legs and feet
- Thickened, opaque toenails
YOU MAY BE AT RISK FOR VASCULAR DISEASE IF YOU:
Are age 50 to 80
Have diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol
Have a history, or family history, of heart disease
- Are obese or physically inactive
To detect the disease early, MedStar Health has partnered with Dare to C.A.R.E. to offer FREE vascular screenings. Screenings are quick and pain-free, using ultrasound technology. Schedule your screening today, at 410-573-9483 ext. 202 or 203.