Health Team

Garner doctor spares limbs from amputation

Posted March 7, 2012 5:05 p.m. EST
Updated March 7, 2012 6:20 p.m. EST

— A new procedure being performed at Rex Healthcare in Garner allows patients to keep limbs that would otherwise have to be amputated.

Dr. George Adams, an endovascular specialist at Rex, uses catheters to help restore blood flow to leg arteries where plaque has built up and caused blockages. He then uses a laser and stents to permanently repair blood flow to the limbs.

For Donald Merritt, 62, the procedure brought instant relief.

"Almost immediately, my foot changed color," Merritt said, from dark red to normal pink.

Merritt doesn't take walking for granted.

"I lost my first leg two years ago this past January," he said.

He came to Rex to avoid losing his second leg and Adams was able to fix a blockage that started in his knee.

Another patient, Dorothy Derr, moved into an assisted living home after peripheral artery disease in her right leg began to limit her movements.

Derr, 69, thought she was going to lose her leg, but Adams was able open blocked blood vessels to restore blood flow to the limb.

"It's completely healed," Adams said. "In fact, what is interesting is it's starting to get its pigment back now."

Derr, who is walking again, has resumed normal activities and regained her independence. She plans to move back home soon.

Merritt, too, is doing all he can to keep his leg strong and reduce his risk for heart attack or stroke.

"I exercise pretty much every day," he said. "I'm pretty active."