Q and A: Can My Father Avoid Amputation?
Q: Dear Diabetes Health, My 82-year-old father is a type 2 diabetic. He is in extreme pain due to an ulcer on his toe and is at risk of amputation of his foot. Here in Canada, the doctors are quick to amputate.
Could you please tell me if any less radical proven procedures exist? I've read about a sock that is used to increase circulation; do you know if it works? I would really appreciate any help short of radical surgery.
A: Dear Ivan, The pain of ischemia (lack of circulation) is certainly severe. I strongly suggest a second opinion prior to amputation. Some vascular surgeons do not do the surgeries that bring blood down to the smaller vessels in the foot.
You must find one that does. These procedures are not possible in everyone, but a test called a digital subtraction angiogram may show that your dad could be a candidate for this surgery. There are many, many vascular surgeons capable of these procedures.
The "sock" you mention may be the "Circulator Boot." You can find very detailed information about it at www.circulatorboot.com. I have no personal experience with it.
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Neil M. Scheffler, DPM, FACFAS
Author: "101 Tips On Foot Care For People With Diabetes, 2nd Edition"
Baltimore Podiatry Group
5205 East Drive
Baltimore, MD 21227