A diagnosis of advanced-stage peripheral artery disease (PAD) can be difficult news to take.

PAD is a serious condition – left untreated, it can lead to amputation. Research shows there are more than 160,000 PAD-related amputations annually performed in the U.S.3

But there is some good news, too. There are many treatment options for PAD.

Be sure to talk with a health care provider about your options. Ask if he or she is a limb salvage specialist and is familiar with treatment options for advanced PAD. You might find out that you have choices beyond amputation.

A doctor may recommend advanced treatment methods such as a minimally invasive procedure,20 which can have benefits that are different from traditional medical procedures.

In minimally invasive surgery, doctors use a variety of techniques to operate with less injury to the body than with open surgery. For example, they may use a small wire through your arteries to reach a blockage. In general, minimally invasive procedures can be safer than open surgery and allow you to recover faster and heal with less pain and scarring.

There are different types of minimally invasive surgery your doctor may recommend, including balloon angioplasty and atherectomy.

In balloon angioplasty, a small, hollow tube (called a catheter) is threaded through a blood vessel to the affected artery. There, a small balloon on the tip of the catheter is inflated to reopen the artery and flatten the blockage into the artery wall, while at the same time stretching the artery open to increase blood flow.

Atherectomy is also performed to open blocked arteries using a catheter to remove atherosclerotic plaque (a deposit of fat and other substances, including calcium, that accumulates in the lining of the artery wall).

Balloon angioplasty and atherectomy are both known as “endovascular” procedures, meaning the procedure takes place inside the blood vessel. This is different from bypass surgery, a more traditional method that uses a vessel from another part of the body or a synthetic vessel to allow blood to flow around a blocked or narrowed artery.

A minimally invasive procedure may be able to help you avoid amputation and improve your quality of life, getting you back to enjoying the things that matter to you. These types of procedures to save legs and feet have been shown to offer advantages when compared to amputation.17

Only a health care professional can determine if a minimally invasive treatment could be an option for you. Schedule an appointment with your doctor today, or use our Find a Doctor tool to locate a PAD specialist near you.