The Silverhawk Procedure

1 decade 3 years 3 days ago Sunday, October 15 2006 Oct 15, 2006 Sunday, October 15, 2006 10:11:59 PM CDT October 15, 2006 in News

The silverhawk procedure is like a roto-rooter for your blood-vessels and it's saving feet, legs and lives.

Peripheral arterial disease blocked Ted Hansen's path.

"My own doctor told me not to walk over 50 steps, and that's why when I went to Walmart I had to ride the electric buggy there," Hansen explained.

A buildup of plaque in blood vessels prevented adequate circulation in places like his legs and feet.

"They did it over here and this was 150 and this was 75. I wasn't getting the blood supply into my lower left calf and into my foot," said Hansen.

The silverhawk, a cutting edge device, is as exciting as its name sounds.

It's an alternative to angioplasty and stenting which only compact plaque against artery walls.

The silverhawk doesn't just compact the plaque, it cuts it right out.

This minimally invasive procedure can mean the difference for patients between shopping in a wheelchair due to amputation and pushing the carts themselves.

"Really the number one goal of what we're trying to do is to prevent amputations and save people's feet," said Dr. Victor Phillips.

The procedure only needs a small incision to insert the catheter, from there doctors watch the progress on video screens.

"How you plane a door kind of same principle. You're running this by the plaque and it shaves it. And as it shaves it, it then collects it into this canister that is down here so that you're actually removing the plaque," said Phillips.

A small rotating blade shaves the plaque off the artery walls and collects it in a canister.

Now a new "mini hawk" can clean arteries as small as 1.5 millimeters.

Removing the plaque results in  better blood flow.

"Once we're able to establish good blood flow than we can get healing," said Phillips

"I feel fine, now, I feel OK and I'm awfully glad I did it," said Hansen.

And the bounce is back in Hansen's step.

"I can walk a lot better," Hansen said.

A simple test can check for peripheral arterial disease.

Sores that don't heal, changes in skin color or numbness in legs are possible signs of the disease.

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