We commonly equate blocked arteries as a problem in the heart, but any of our veins can become clogged with plaque. It affects blood flow and can have life-threatening implications.
“Even the healthiest person will have eventually some plaque in their vessels. We have to make sure they don’t have a problem with the vessel going to their brain, in the carotid vessels,” says Dr. Moutta BenMaamer, a vascular surgeon with Lee Memorial Health System.
Many times, the blocked arteries will occur in the leg. That’s what 93-year-old Thomas Fagan experienced.
“Well, I couldn’t walk with the pains in the leg.”
“When they don’t have enough blood going to their leg, they have pain in the beginning and afterwards they can have even an ulcer and then it can go all the way to the gangrene,” says Dr. BenMaamer.
Thomas was diagnosed with peripheral artery disease and went to Dr. BenMaamer for treatment.
“He put a stent in there, which, eliminated the problem,” says Thomas.
Stenting the blockage to open the artery is a common course of action. It can be done through open surgery or minimally invasively through a catheter.
“Whenever there’s the blockage either we start by putting the balloon open, up the balloon we call it angioplasty. Sometimes that’s not enough so we have to hold that opening with a stent,” says Dr. BenMaamer.
Vascular surgeons are able to treat blockages wherever they occur. In some cases they pose the potential for aneurism.
“When the vessel gets bigger, it gets higher the risk for their vessel to rupture and that’s a big deal. So we have to treat that vessel before the rupture,” says Dr. BenMaamer.Fixing the veins through vascular surgery can help people enjoy life and get back on their feet, without the pain.