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Pioneering surgical team reduce leg amputations

A team of specialist surgeons have developed a surgical approach which reduces major leg amputation rates by around 23%.
Staff from the Manchester Royal Infirmary aimed to address the increasing rates of the two leading diabetes complications: arterial disease and limb amputation.
Three years ago a team of podiatric and vascular surgeons formed the Lower Limb Preservation Team and have significantly changed health outcomes for patients.
A recent study has unveiled how successful the revolutionary team has bee, with the findings having been published in the Diabetic Foot Journal.
Professor Paul Chadwick, clinical director at the College of Podiatry and co-author of the paper said: “We are now seeing a situation where the number amputations resulting from diabetic and non-diabetic foot ulcers is about the same.
“The close collaboration between podiatric surgeons and vascular surgeons has, to a large extent, been responsible for a reduction in the major amputation rate of about 23 per cent in Manchester over three years.”
Foot care is especially important in people with diabetes because poor blood sugar control can increase the risk of problems such as foot ulcers or nerve damage. That is why annual foot screenings are recommended for those with the condition.
Arterial disease, meanwhile, is another common diabetes complication that happens when blood vessels in the legs become blocked or narrowed.
Prof Chadwick added: “An increasing number of specialist foot procedures have to be performed on patients with a compromised vascular supply to the foot or leg, so having both kinds of surgeons making the clinical decisions together gives the patient best chance of a good outcome.
“Furthermore, podiatric surgery is now providing important training for the next generation of vascular surgeons, arming them with new reconstructive techniques that they too can pass on.”

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