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Atherectomy Amputation Lawsuits

When it comes to medical procedures, there's always a certain level of risk. Things sometimes go wrong and patients can end up suffering serious injuries or permanent damage. In the case of an atherectomy — a procedure that removes plaque from arteries — those injuries may even require amputation, a drastic measure that profoundly impacts patients physically, emotionally, and financially.

Unfortunately, some evidence suggests that atherectomies may be associated with a higher risk of major complications like amputations than traditional endovascular treatments. To make matters worse, recent news reports have revealed that some doctors in may be performing atherectomies that are medically unnecessary.

In May, ProPublica reported that doctors are receiving dangerous financial incentives to perform excessive and risky procedures, with some making millions of dollars from atherectomies. The boom began in 2011 when Medicare began generously reimbursing doctors for outpatient atherectomies performed in office-based clinics. ProPublica reports that atherectomies increased by 60% between 2011 to 2014.

What Is an Atherectomy?

An atherectomy is one of several procedures that open up blood vessels blocked or narrowed by plaque, a sticky combination of fat, cholesterol, and other substances. Atherectomies are a kind of endovascular surgery, which are considered minimally invasive because they require only tiny incisions. In addition to atherectomies, endovascular techniques that open blood vessels include angioplasties and stents.

  • In an atherectomy, a catheter tipped with a sharp blade or laser is inserted into a blood vessel to remove plaque from the walls.
  • In an angioplasty, a catheter is inserted with a balloon attached, which is then inflated to press plaque against the walls.
  • In a stent procedure, a tiny mesh tube is implanted into a narrowed blood vessel to keep its walls open.
Why Are Atherectomies Used?

Atherectomies can help improve blood flow and relieve symptoms of peripheral artery disease (PAD). PAD is an accumulation of plaque in the arteries in your legs or arms that makes it harder for your blood to carry oxygen to these areas. If left untreated, PAD can damage the tissues of the legs and feet, leading to serious complications like infections, ulcers, and even amputation.

However, not all PAD patients need surgery. Other treatments include lifestyle changes and medication. In fact, ProPublica reports that researchers have discovered that people with early-stage vascular disease had less than a 2% risk of amputation after five years. However, with aggressive medical interventions, that risk could jump up to 5% or even 10%.

Can I File an Atherectomy Injury Lawsuit?

If you suffered severe complications after an atherectomy, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses and other damages. Navigating the legal system can be difficult, however, especially if you're still recovering from surgery or dealing with the aftermath of an amputation. That's where a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can help.

The attorneys at Altman & Altman LLP have over 50 years of experience investigating, preparing, and litigating complex lawsuits in Massachusetts. We can provide the support and guidance you need to pursue justice and seek the compensation you deserve. Contact us 24/7 for a free consultation with a skilled atherectomy injury lawyer.

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