Amputation is one of the most devastating potential complications of diabetes. At this stage, it is sometimes the only solution to advanced stages of diabetic neuropathy, and as such people with diabetes are major risk subjects. However, a new laser technique that utilises ultraviolet energy may be able to restore the flow of blood to blocked arteries; possibly helping advanced stage diabetics avoid amputation.
The laser technique provided some good results: less than one in ten patients who had taken laser procedures suffered an amputation within six months. A study of the technique largely involved people suffering from both diabetes and high blood pressure who were at a severe risk of losing a limb (due to diffuse atherosclerosis of the legs.) The standard procedure for preventing the loss of a limb, bypass surgery, was considered inappropriate for these patients.
In American, diabetes is the leading cause of lower limb amputation, and accounts for more than half of all leg and foot removals. The ADA (American Diabetes Association) estimates that over 80,000 diabetics lose a leg or foot annually.
The new treatment comes about following a breakthrough in laser technology that enables them to be used without damaging surrounding tissue. The study was funded by a company which produces the laser, Spectranetics, and is published in thee Journal of Endovascular Therapy.

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