SPRINGFIELD, Mo. New advancements in medical technology are taking place every day.
And a vascular surgeon at Mercy is among the first doctors in the country to perform a new procedure to treat artery blockage in the leg that vastly cuts down on recovery time and the possibility of complications.
While most of us take our mobility for granted, as we get older the arteries in our legs can develop blockage just like our heart does, leading to a number of serious complications.
"The minute you can't get the mail or walk around the store to do your shopping you lose independence and you lose quality of life," explained Dr. Christopher Stout, a vascular surgeon at Mercy.
Treating Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), the blockage in your leg, has come a long way over the years. From actually cutting into a patient's leg to accessing the arteries by going through the groin.
"It has a chance of bleeding or causing problems with clotting," Stout said of the groin-entry surgery. "So you're laying flat and you can't move for six to eight hours."
But now Stout is one of the first doctors in the nation to perform the latest form of treatment. Using a long sheath-like device called R2P, which stands for radial to peripheral, he can access the leg arteries by going through the patient's wrist and perform a variety of procedures.
That includes using a device to clean out the the artery's calcium build-up (a rotor-rooter if you will), or using angioplasty, the opening of a balloon to open up the clogged artery. Other options include placing stents or doing a by-pass to send blood around the blockage.
"The patients absolutely love it because it's faster recuperation," Stout said. "Our goal is to get everybody out within an hour and it has a much lower risk of bleeding and other complications."
Jack Bindner from Conway spent his 80th birthday getting the new procedure done.
He said he could barely make it a sixteenth-of-a-mile when he walks and had "no energy".
And he had been through the groin-entry surgeries before.
"They were excruciating," he remarked.
So he's happy to be a part of the latest in technology, which resulted in a 100% successful surgery.
"It's fantastic,he said. "Cutting edge? I'm 80 so cut on me."
"Fixing this disease is now relatively easy and with low risk," Stout added. "Most people will come back and say I didn't ever think it could be like this. They give you a big hug and say 'you changed my life'."
And now that Bindner has had his surgery?
"I wanna start running marathons, c'mon," he said with a smile.
With around 20% of the population affected by artery blockage in the leg by age 70, doctors encourage you to get screened for the disease as you get older.
And if you'd like more info on the procedure mentioned in this article, you can contact Mercy by clicking HERE.