Peripheral Artery Disease

Vascular Specialists

Vascular Surgeons located in Tinley Park, IL & Evergreen Park, IL

In 80-90% of all cases, peripheral artery disease affects the arteries in your legs. The expert physicians at Vascular Specialists use the latest technology to reopen clogged vessels, preventing complications such as non-healing wounds, gangrene, and amputations. With comprehensive care from Vascular Specialists, you can regain the ability to walk, stay active, and maintain a better quality of life. To schedule an appointment, call one of the offices in Tinley Park, Illinois, and Munster, Indiana, or use the online booking feature.

Peripheral Artery Disease Q & A

What is peripheral artery disease?

Peripheral artery disease occurs when cholesterol and other fats attach to an artery wall, a problem more likely to occur when the wall has experienced damage due to an underlying condition such as high blood pressure or diabetes.

Over time, calcium and other substances join the fats, making the plaque slowly enlarge and harden. This condition, called atherosclerosis, narrows the artery and restricts blood flow through the vessel.

What symptoms develop due to peripheral artery disease?

You can have peripheral artery disease in any of the arteries supplying blood to your arms, pelvis, and legs. However, this disease most often develops in your legs, where it causes symptoms such as: 

  • Leg pain when walking that feels better at rest (claudication)
  • Muscle cramps
  • Leg fatigue or heaviness
  • Leg numbness
  • Skin rashes
  • Reddish-brown skin
  • Non-healing leg wounds
  • Hair loss or slow hair growth on the leg 

When PAD goes untreated, the lack of oxygen-rich blood causes critical limb ischemia. Without oxygen, skin and other tissues deteriorate, and dangerous infections and gangrene can develop.

How is peripheral artery disease treated?

The team at Vascular Specialists offers comprehensive care for peripheral artery disease, beginning with screening to determine your risk factors and implementing therapies that can prevent or slow down the progression of atherosclerosis.

Your treatment may include lifestyle changes and medications to treat chronic health conditions that accelerate atherosclerosis, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. 

If your blockage is moderate or severe, Vascular Specialists recommend a procedure to reopen the clogged artery. In severe cases, you may need surgery to bypass the blockage.

Most people, however, are good candidates for a minimally-invasive procedure such as: 

Balloon angioplasty and stenting

Balloon angioplasty is a minimally-invasive procedure in which the Vascular Specialists team makes a tiny incision, inserts a catheter into a blood vessel, and then uses real-time X-ray imaging to gently thread the catheter to the site of the blockage.

At the blockage, they inflate a balloon that pushes the plaque back against the artery wall, restoring blood flow through the artery.

Some people may also need a mesh stent inserted to hold the artery open and help prevent future plaque from collecting in the same area. 


If the plaque is too hard for balloon angioplasty, Vascular Specialists perform an atherectomy. This procedure is also done with a catheter, but this time, it’s equipped with a device that shaves away the plaque.

Getting treatment at the earliest sign of peripheral artery disease helps to prevent it from progressing. Call Vascular Specialists or book an appointment online.