Peripheral Artery Disease

If you have peripheral artery disease, you may suffer from limb pain, called claudication, or from wounds that will not heal. Medication may be an option to control your pain. But if your symptoms are severe enough, your doctor may recommend surgery. We also have advanced wound care services, including a hyperbaric chamber.

At the Wake Forest Baptist Health Vascular Center, we do interventional procedures, such as angioplasty, but we also perform advanced   revascularization by surgical bypass.

Managing Peripheral Artery Disease

If your doctor does not believe surgery is necessary to minimize your risk for heart attack or stroke, he or she may recommend one or more of the following:

  • Medications that lower cholesterol or prevent blood clots
  • Diabetes management
  • Lifestyle change, such as quitting smoking
  • Exercise programs
  • Regular follow-up care to monitor your condition 

Surgical Treatment Options for Peripheral Artery Disease

Surgery for peripheral artery disease restores blood flow to your limbs, a process called revascularization. We offer several surgical treatment options, including:

Endarterectomy: Your doctor removes plaque buildup and repairs the affected artery to improve blood flow. This procedure is open surgery and requires a large incision.

Bypass surgery: Your doctor re-routes blood around the blocked section of your artery in one of two ways. He can either use one of your veins or plastic tubing to "bypass" the blockage. This procedure is an open surgery and requires an incision. 

Angioplasty: Your doctor inserts a thin tube called a catheter through an artery in your groin and, with the help of X-ray imaging, moves the catheter up the blocked artery. The catheter helps your doctor position a tiny balloon in the artery. When inflated, it widens the artery, improving blood flow. Your doctor may also insert a stent, or metal tube, in the artery to provide extra support. As a catheter-based technique, this procedure only requires a tiny incision. 

Only you and your doctor can decide which type of surgery is right for you. All of our patients receive pre-operative counseling to help them understand the risks and benefits of all procedures. 

Expertise in Limb Salvage for PAD at Wake Forest

For some our patients with severe peripheral artery disease, amputation may be the best treatment option. We do not consider amputation unless we have tried all other options. 

When we face limb-threatening situations, especially those that involve wounds, our vascular team works closely with other Wake Forest experts to provide comprehensive care. 

Our patients benefit from our: 

This multidisciplinary approach offers a level of expertise that patients can only get at an academic medical center like Wake Forest Baptist Health. 


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Last Updated: 08-02-2013
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Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.