Peripheral Artery Disease Specialist

Kenneth Spearman, MD -  - Vascular & Vein Center

Central Coast Vein & Vascular

Kenneth Spearman, MD

Vascular & Vein Center located in Arroyo Grande, CA

Are you experiencing aching, throbbing legs, pain, and cramping, numbness, or skin changes? It could be PAD. Early diagnosis and treatment are key. At Central Coast Vein & Vascular, Kenneth Spearman, MD, has extensive experience providing comprehensive care for peripheral artery disease, including specializing in minimally invasive, image-guided procedures that restore blood flow to the legs and feet. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Arroyo Grande, California, or use the online booking feature.

Peripheral Artery Disease Q&A

What is peripheral artery disease?

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a common condition in which fatty plaque builds up in the arteries. The plaque can harden and reduce the flow of blood, most typically to the legs, ankles, and feet.

When blood flow is reduced, over time you may experience uncomfortable symptoms such as leg pain while walking (claudication), reduced pulse, skin temperature changes, and pain at rest. 

You may be more likely to have PAD if (among other factors), you have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, or a history of smoking.

Many people mistake the symptoms of PAD for something else and often goes undiagnosed by healthcare professionals. If left untreated, PAD can lead to gangrene and amputation.

What symptoms develop due to peripheral artery disease? 

PAD can develop in your arms, legs, and pelvic region, but the condition most often affects your legs. 

Most patients don’t have symptoms until a significant amount of the blood flow is blocked, and then they experience problems such as:

  • Leg pain, cramping, and aching
  • Leg fatigue or heaviness
  • Leg numbness or tingling
  • Thickened, discolored, reddish-brown skin
  • Non-healing sores or ulcers

If left untreated, PAD can progress and lead to limb amputation as well as other serious health complications including stroke and heart attack.

How is peripheral artery disease treated?

After reviewing your medical history and symptoms, Dr. Spearman performs an ankle-brachial index test to compare the blood pressure in your upper and lower limbs. He may also perform diagnostic imaging, such as ultrasound, in the office. 

Lifestyle changes can slow down or prevent atherosclerosis when the condition is caught at an early stage. If you have a moderate-to-severe blockage, however, minimally invasive image-guided treatments are available to eliminate the blockage, restore normal blood flow, and improve your quality of life.

Dr. Spearman may perform one of the following procedures:

Angioplasty

Dr. Spearman performs an angioplasty by inserting a slim catheter through a small cut in a blood vessel and using real-time imaging to guide the catheter to the blocked area of your artery.

After positioning the catheter in the narrowed area, he inflates a balloon that pushes the plaque against the arterial wall and reopens the artery.

Stenting

In some cases, Dr. Spearman implants a mesh tube called a stent into the artery to help it stay open. If you receive a stent, you also need to take medications to prevent blood clots from forming inside the stent.

Atherectomy

When the plaque is too hard for balloon angioplasty, Dr. Spearman performs an atherectomy. This procedure uses a catheter equipped with tools that shave away or dissolve the plaque.

Thrombolysis or thrombectomy

Atherosclerotic plaque can rupture and cause a blood clot. Thrombolysis is a procedure to dissolve the clot using medication delivered through a catheter inside the artery.

During a thrombectomy, Dr. Spearman uses a catheter containing tools to remove the blood clot.

If you develop leg pain or you would like to learn about vascular screenings, call Central Coast Vein & Vascular or book an appointment online.