Nebraska Medicine offers breakthrough new treatment for PAD patients

Posted at 4:24 PM, Sep 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-12 16:37:24-04

September is Peripheral Artery Disease Awareness Month.  PAD affects close to 20 million adults in the U.S. 

Thanks to breakthrough technology offered at Nebraska Medicine, surgery for PAD patients is now more effective and less invasive. 

57-year-old Rick Schnell has been running for decades.  A few years ago the avid runner thought shin splints were to blame for the pain and cramping in his legs, so he bought new shoes.

“Those shoes didn't work, so I took those shoes back and got a different pair, but the pain continued,” said Schnell. 

About a year and a half ago Schnell was diagnosed with Peripheral Artery Disease or PAD, a buildup of plaque in the arteries that reduces blood flow to the legs and feet.  In July, the pain became too much, Schnell needed surgery. 

“In the past it was more guess work,” said Dr. David Vogel.

Nebraska Medicine Vascular Surgeon David Vogel says surgeons used to rely on x-rays to try to guide them during surgery, which could sometimes be harmful.  

Thanks to a breakthrough new treatment for PAD patients, surgeons no longer have to guess.  They can precisely remove plaque. 

"It takes a picture right behind my cutting blade, so I know exactly what I'm cutting, what I just cut,” said Dr. Vogel.

Nebraska Medicine is the only hospital in the state that has the Pantheris device.  Schnell is one of 20 patients who have had the procedure. 

Schnell is thankful he didn’t have to hang up his running shoes.  He was back running on the treadmill just two days after surgery.