September is Peripheral Artery Disease awareness month. PAD affects close to 20 million adults in the U.S.
Thanks to a breakthrough technology at Nebraska Medicine, surgery for PAD patients is now more effective and less invasive. Reporter Emily Szink explains...
"Before this breakthrough medical technology the recovery time was days, sometimes even weeks. Now patients are in an out of the hospital on the same day. Omahan Rick Schnell had his surgery on a Thursday and was mowing his lawn the next day"
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.."Took the shoes back got a different pair, pain continued". About a year and a half ago Schnell was diagnosed with Peripheral Artery Disease, or PAD: a build up of plaque in the arteries that reduces blood flow to the legs and feet. In July the pain became too much to bear. Schnell needed surgery
"In the past it was more guess work" 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.."It's incisionless surgery". 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."
Nebraska Medicine is the only hospital in the state that has the Pantheris device. Schnell is one of 20 patients who've had the procedure."Do you have anymore pain now when you're running." Schnell is thankful he didn't have to hang up his running shoes. He was back running on a treadmill just two days after surgery."Alright lets listen to the other side" Schnell is enjoying his pain and plaque free life."I feel better than I thought I would feel so thumbs up on everything"
Schnell says he hopes to get back to running outside sometime soon."