Dallas vascular surgeon Dr. Russell Lam often sees patients who are experiencing foot pain and foot ulcers from diabetes-related arterial disease. In fact, one in four diabetics will have a diabetic foot ulcer in their lifetime.
What is a diabetic foot ulcer?
A diabetic foot sore is an open wound or sore on the foot that is due to poor circulation. It worsens, becomes infected and causes severe discomfort in the lower extremities.
What causes diabetic foot ulcers?
Diabetic patients can develop calcified plaques in their arteries, which leads to atherosclerosis – a narrowing and blockage of the arteries. In these patients, the arteries most commonly involved are those below the knee, which can result in decreased blood flow to the lower leg and foot.
Poor circulation in the legs and feet can cause wounds to heal more slowly. If arterial disease goes untreated, patients may eventually face amputation. Dr. Lam helps patients avoid painful infections and unnecessary amputations, by providing several treatment options for diabetic foot ulcers.
How are they treated?
Ultrasound technology is used to evaluate patients for compromised blood flow. If a blockage is suspected, then an angiogram is completed to confirm the diagnosis. Blockages also can often be treated using ballooning and stent placement during the angiogram and stenting procedure.
“When I had a routine check-up with my vascular surgeon, it was the biggest shock of his life. He expected me to come back and say I was ready to have my leg amputated. And here I was in great spirits, and everything was healing so well. It was amazing for him, to say the least.”
Dr. Lam also offers advanced treatment options for patients who have not had success with standard arteriograms. Harvey Spurrell, 68, of Newfoundland, Canada, spent months suffering from severe diabetic foot ulcers that limited his mobility and put him in constant pain. After being told by multiple physicians that his foot would never heal and amputation was inevitable, he traveled to Dallas to see Dr. Lam and undergo laser atherectomy, a procedure that was not yet available in Canada.”
“This advanced treatment uses ultraviolet energy to vaporize or “photo-ablate” plaque, calcium deposits and other build-ups that create blockage in a blood vessel. Once the blockage is cleared, the surgeon can guide a catheter through the blood vessel and restore blood flow.”
Spurrell credits Dr. Lam with saving his foot and his mobility. He underwent treatment on Friday and was back home in Canada on the following Monday. He says the recovery was easy and that his foot was completely healed within months.
“When I had a routine check-up with my vascular surgeon, it was the biggest shock of his life,” says Spurrell.
“He expected me to come back and say I was ready to have my leg amputated. And here I was in great spirits, and everything was healing so well. It was amazing for him, to say the least.”
To discuss treatment options for diabetic foot ulcers that refuse to heal or if you have been told by another doctor that amputation is inevitable, schedule a second opinion consultation with Dr. Lam in Dallas by calling 214.345.4160 or click here to request an appointment online.
The information contained in this article is not intended to be used as a substitute for medical advice. Patient results will vary based on risk factors, age, disease and medical history and are not guaranteed in any way.