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Popliteal Aneurysm & Avoiding Toe Amputations

| | Knee

At the Centeno-Schultz Clinic in Broomfield and Denver, Colorado, we acknowledge that the loss of a digit or limb can be a devastating psychological and physical event. There are many reasons for amputation. One is inadequate blood flow.  In the lower extremities, this can cause significant injury to both the nerves and vital structures, including the toes.

A thorough examination is critical to evaluating a patient and his or her pain complaint, which is the standard of care at the Centeno-Schultz Clinic. A case last week illustrates my point.

Dr. Hyzy Helps Patient Avoid Additional Toe Amputations

BA is a 67-year-old male with a several-year history of knee pain. The patient’s past medical history was significant for multiple sclerosis and low-back and intermittent lower-extremity numbness. The past surgical history was significant for right second toe amputation.

During an ultrasound evaluation of the knee (such as the one pictured below), Dr. Matthew Hyzy noted an abnormal pulsatile mass in the back of the knee, which was later found to be a popliteal aneurysm.

What Is an Aneurysm?

An aneurysm is a localized weak spot on a blood vessel wall that causes an outward bulging. The word is Greek and means “to dilate.”

Can a Popliteal Aneurysm Compromise Toes?

YES! The popliteal artery is a continuation of the femoral artery and provides major blood supply to both the knee and the lower extremities. Reduced blood flow to toes can lead to ischemia and gangrene, oftentimes requiring amputation.

After finding the mass, BA was then referred to a vascular surgeon for evaluation and treatment.

The Centeno-Schultz Clinic maintains the highest standard of care, which begins with a thorough evaluation and diagnostic ultrasound by a fellowship-trained physician. As a result of Dr. Matthew Hyzy’s commitment to this standard,  BA was diagnosed with a popliteal aneurysm and referred to a vascular specialist and most likely will forgo any future toe problems.

Great job, Dr. Hyzy!

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