Is your doctor recommending amputating your leg or foot as treatment for peripheral artery disease (PAD)? It’s important to know that you don’t have to accept that prognosis before doing more research. You can — and should — advocate for yourself by getting a second opinion.

Many people take a doctor’s recommendation at face value and without question. However, not all healthcare providers are PAD experts.

PAD is a complex condition that requires years of specific expertise to treat each unique case. Some doctors don’t use optimal imaging techniques and equipment that show the severity of a patient’s PAD.

If your doctor isn’t using updated techniques and technology, you might not be getting the best recommendation. Don’t be afraid to speak up and find out more information.

Why should amputation be the last treatment option?

Losing a toe, foot or leg can impact your quality of life, it puts you at risk for surgical complications, infection and further amputations. Several other health factors including advanced age, heart failure, kidney disease and cancer can also contribute to your life being at risk after amputation.25

Even with severe PAD, don’t give up hope if your initial prognosis is bad. There may be other options to try. According to the University of Michigan’s Frankel Cardiovascular Center, “in many cases even when gangrene is present, amputation can be avoided.”

Efforts to save your legs and feet have been shown to have advantages compared to amputation. If you can avoid an amputation, you not only have lower healthcare costs, but you may live longer with a better quality of life.17

With this information in hand, how do you get a second opinion that helps you decide the best treatment plan?

Do your research

Research trusted online resources. While remembering that each case is unique, you can talk to other doctors about PAD. To get a second opinion, ask your doctor for PAD specialist recommendations or use our Find a Doctor tool.

The bottom line — don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions and be a partner in your healthcare. You have the power to prevent a life-altering amputation.