As peripheral artery disease becomes increasingly common, vascular surgeons such as Dr. Lam are seeking new, less invasive and more effective ways to treat patients with PAD. Most doctors who specialize in vascular diseases use balloon expansion (angioplasty and stenting) as the principal therapy in treating lower-extremity PAD. However, Dr. Lam offers a viable alternative to more traditional treatment methods: laser atherectomy.
What is laser atherectomy?
Laser atherectomy is an FDA-approved, minimally invasive endovascular technique for removing plaque from blood vessels within the body. The procedure uses a catheter that emits high-energy ultraviolet light to unblock the artery. Dr. Lam maneuvers the catheter through the vessel until it reaches the blockage.
How do I know if I’m a candidate?
Good candidates have severe narrowing of peripheral arteries that cannot be easily treated with angioplasty and stenting and are not ideal candidates for bypass surgery. Additionally, Dr. Lam often recommends laser atherectomy for patients suffering from diabetic complications. All candidates are encouraged to discuss the potential benefits, risks or side effects associated with any surgical procedure with their doctor.
How is laser atherectomy performed?
Dr. Lam uses the Spectranetics excimer laser to “photo-ablate,” or essentially vaporize, plaque, calcium deposits and other build-up inside the vessel. Once the blockage is cleared, Dallas vascular surgeon Dr. Lam guides a catheter through the blood vessel to restore blood flow to the peripheral tissue. Once adequate blood flow is restored, foot sores and wounds are able to heal, thus preventing the need for amputation in almost all cases.
What are the benefits?
Laser atherectomy is a minimally invasive procedure that is performed in-office and generally does not involve a hospital stay. Since only local anesthesia and a mild sedative are used, recovery time is minimal. Due to the precision of laser technology, the procedure is for most, very effective in reopening the arteries to stimulate long-term, healthy blood flow.
We invite you to watch the animations below to get a better idea of how laser atherectomy is performed.