Ellichman Vein & Vascular Centers
Jonathan J Ellichman, M.D.
Vascular Surgeon & Wound Care Specialist located in Memphis, TN
At least 2 million American adults are living with limb loss today. Vascular disease is the most common reason for amputation today, but it’s also highly treatable and preventable. If you have vascular disease, whether related to diabetes or another condition, vascular surgeon Jonathan Ellichman, MD, can help with amputation prevention at Ellichman Vein & Vascular Centers. Call the Memphis, Tennessee, office or use the online scheduling tool to arrange your appointment now.
Amputation Prevention Q & A
What leads to foot or limb amputation?
The main cause of foot and limb amputation in the United States is vascular disease. Most vascular disease occurs with:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
More than 80% of amputations start with a foot ulcer, and most foot ulcers happen due to diabetes complications like vascular disease.
If you have diabetes, you’re at risk for atherosclerosis (artery narrowing), which often leads to peripheral artery disease (PAD), a condition that limits blood supply to your limbs. Diabetes also increases your risk for nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy), which can cause numbness.
With peripheral neuropathy, you can develop a foot wound that grows painlessly. Because of restricted blood supply, the wound doesn’t heal properly. With these combined factors, a tiny foot wound could become a bigger non-healing wound. In many cases, non-healing wounds can attract bacteria, causing infection.
Infected foot wounds can develop gangrene, which destroys the tissue. At that point, amputation could be the only option. However, Ellichman Vein & Vascular Centers offers amputation prevention that you can start right now to avoid such dire consequences.
What is amputation prevention?
Amputation prevention is a set of specialized treatment protocols for people who are at risk for amputation due to vascular disease, traumatic wounds, or other reasons. At Ellichman Vein & Vascular Centers, amputation prevention includes:
- Diagnostic vascular disease testing
- Daily foot and leg inspections at home
- Appropriate footwear (prescription if needed)
- Immediate wound care when needed
- Vascular disease treatment when needed
If you have a chronic disease like diabetes, you may need to take other amputation prevention steps, like controlling your blood sugar through diet or medication.
When should I schedule amputation prevention appointments?
If you have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes, or if you smoke cigarettes, you should schedule a vascular wellness checkup at least once a year. Your Ellichman Vein & Vascular Centers provider may recommend vascular testing as part of your annual physicals.
If you have a new slow-healing or non-healing wound, it’s essential that you start amputation prevention protocols right away. Infection and gangrene can develop very quickly in these situations, but with immediate wound healing treatments, you can avoid amputation.
When you are told nothing can be done, call Ellichman Vascular for a second opinion.