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Amputation

Diabetes and amputation

11/21/2006

Question:

My dad has juvenile diabetes for 45 years. He suffered his first heartattack in 1997 and has had a bypass. He is in the hospital now and has damage at the end his foot. The doctor said in his exray some of the veins or arteries "look like tree branches" because of all the disease and plaque. He has already had an artery replaced and and arteriogram. The doctor said that went very well the problem is the blood flow to the end of the foot because of the disease. They want to amputate just below the knee. I trust his doctors but is there anything else possible they can try?

Thank you.

Answer:

It is unlikely that anything else can be done.  The problem with diabetes is that it occludes the small vessels in the foot.  Once they are blocked, they cannot be opened up with surgery or medicine.  Once ulcers or gangrene develop, the only option is amputation. 

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Response by:

Blair  Vermilion, MD Blair Vermilion, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University