Leg stent surgery has become more common than ever lately. Your doctor might have even recommended you get one in the last few years.
You might have followed their advice only to suffer complications.
What if it turns out your doctor shouldn’t have recommended that procedure for you?
For a while, some physicians were abusing heart stent procedures, performing them on many patients who didn’t need it. Now, some doctors are overusing leg angioplasty and stent placement on patients at alarming rates.
When patients have unnecessary surgery, they can end up in worse health than before. Leg stents can worsen vascular disease, rupturing arteries or creating blockages. Aggressive stent procedures could actually increase your risk of losing your limb or even death.
What can you do if you or a loved one has developed problems as a result of leg stent surgery?
Our experienced firm is here to help you. Call Harlan Law at (619) 870-0802 to find out if you have a case for medical malpractice.
Stents as Treatment for Blocked Leg Arteries
What Happens If You Have a Blocked Artery in Your Leg?
Just like in your heart, your leg arteries can get clogged with fat. These fatty deposits can slow or even block blood flow to your leg. Those blockages can cause severe leg pain and numbness. If left untreated, you could lose the ability to walk or even need an amputation.
Many people find themselves considering leg stents when they go to a doctor for leg pain. They may be surprised when they get a diagnosis of peripheral artery disease (PAD).
But PAD is common, especially as the population gets older. Risk factors for leg blood clots include diabetes, smoking, age, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
If you were diagnosed with PAD, your doctor may have recommended a leg stent.
Angioplasty and Stent Placement
Angioplasty is a surgery to open up the blocked arteries that circulate blood to your legs. This usually involves your femoral artery but could also affect the iliac artery in your pelvis. The procedure has become more available over the years and is usually covered by insurance.
During the procedure, a surgeon uses a medical balloon to widen the walls of your artery. This opens up space for blood to flow. This method is also called “ballooning.”
In many cases, your surgeon will place a stent along the artery wall after widening the artery. Stents are metal or mesh tubes used to stop the artery from narrowing again.
Leg Stent Complications
Stents seem like a clever fix to a common problem. And stents have pretty good outcomes for patients who get them in their heart arteries. But they don’t do as well when placed in legs.
How Long Do Stents Last in the Legs?
In fact, stents don’t last very long in the legs and many fail within a few years. Sometimes patients need a replacement stent within a year or two after they got the first one.
How Dangerous Is Having a Stent Put In?
Because of the risk of complications, the Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) set guidelines for the use of leg stents in the femoral artery.
According to the association of medical professionals, leg stents should be used:
- Only after a patient with leg pain has failed medical and exercise therapy, and
- They have lifestyle-limiting symptoms.
According to a paper written by Johns Hopkins researchers and published in the Journal of Vascular Surgery, some doctors put a much higher percentage of their patients through leg stent surgery. The average rate of all doctors for leg stent procedures was 3.5% but some were at 14% or higher.
Most alarming were the doctors with a high rate of surgery as the first course of treatment for new patients.
Leg stenting is an aggressive procedure. It might not be right for you as the first line of action against leg pain, especially with less risky options available. In fact, exercise therapy is a proven benefit to patients with PAD and has a much lower risk of complications than stents.
It’s important to trust your doctor that they are providing the best treatment for you. When a doctor breaks that trust to increase their profit, it can cause real harm. Telling patients to get unneeded surgery to make more money is predatory behavior.
What can you do if you’ve been hurt by unnecessary leg stent surgery?
Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
It’s hard to put a price on health. If your health has suffered because of medical treatment, you might have a claim for medical malpractice. And it’s best to act fast – when your case is fresh.
That’s because medical malpractice cases usually have a short statute of limitations.
In California, you must file your medical malpractice claim within:
- One year after you discover or should have discovered your injury, or
- Three years of the date of your injury – whichever comes first.
So if you wait, you may not be able to file your case – even if you have a good claim.
In order to have a successful medical malpractice case, you must show:
- You had a patient relationship with your doctor
- Your doctor acted negligently
- Your doctor’s negligence caused your injury, and
- Your injury caused you to suffer actual harm
Types of harm include physical pain, mental suffering, extra medical bills, and lost work and earning capacity.
Most medical malpractice claims involve:
- Failure to diagnose
- Improper or inappropriate treatment
- Failure to warn the patient of known risks
Every malpractice case is different based on the specifics. On top of that, most states including California have special requirements for medical malpractice cases. You might have to put your case through a special review panel. You may also be required to give notice to your doctor that you are suing them. And in many cases, you need experts to testify for you.
The only way to find out where you stand is to talk to a lawyer you trust.
Talk to a Lawyer Now
Harlan Law handles medical cases with the compassion and support that you need. Call us at (619) 870-0802 and let’s get started on your claim.