Prescott’s Leading Group of Subspecialty Radiologists
Vascular Specialists and Interventional Radiologists Provide Specialized Care for Prescott’s Community
About Vascular and Interventional Specialists of Prescott
Vascular & Interventional Specialists of Prescott (VISP) has been a part of the Prescott medical community and serving patients since 2010. We are a group of subspecialty radiologists that perform numerous minimally-invasive, low-risk procedures using the tools of our trade for guidance—x-ray, ultrasound, CT scan, and MRI. Our goal is to educate the public and medical community, then diagnose and treat people in the safest, most compassionate way, with rapid recovery times and low risk of complications.
Meet Our Doctors
The physicians at VISP offer a vast background and thorough experience in diagnostic and interventional radiology, specializing in minimally invasive procedures using image guidance. The subspecialty group also provides therapeutic treatment through specific procedures to help alleviate chronic and severe back pain.
Click here to learn more about the specialties of Dr. Dicker, Dr. Lloyd, and Dr. Paxton.
- Back – VISP offers an array of therapies to treat chronic and severe back pain such as caudal epidurals, nerve block procedures, sciatica epidurals, injections similar to a cortisone injection, and vertebral cement augmentation.
- Arterial – The physicians at VISP are vascular specialists who work with patients with peripheral vascular disease (PVD) or peripheral arterial disease (PAD) to provide treatments to correct narrowed or blocked vessels to ease blood circulation throughout the body.
- Vein – Patients will see our varicose vein specialists for top-level care to treat uncomfortable and painful varicose veins, spider veins and reticular veins. Vein ablation procedures are nonsurgical and provide a quick recovery time.
- Cancer – The interventional specialists at VISP perform specific cancer therapy treatments to help shrink the size of tumors in cancer patients. Learn more here about the types of therapies offered.
- Epidurals – An epidural injection is a method to deliver pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory medicine to the epidural layer of the spine. VISP physicians use epidurals often to relieve severe back pain and chronic back pain in their patients.
- Nerve Blocks – Nerve block injections are used to alleviate pain by way of turning off the pain signal to the brain. The doctors at VISP use the nerve block procedure often in patients who are experiencing debilitating pain in their bodies. Learn more about the procedure here.
- Other – There are many procedures that we do at VISP with precision and care including implanting MediPorts, J Tube Placements, PICC Lines, IVC Filter Placement and Removal, Biopsies, and more.
Conditions We Treat
The hardworking and diligent team of physicians at VISP performs an array of diagnostic testing, procedures and treatment options for many conditions. Area physicians often refer to us because we are well-known and trusted to provide the best in care for our patients who are experiencing the following:
Can Benign Tumors Become Cancerous? Interventional Radiologist Explains
Can Benign Tumors Become Cancerous? Interventional Radiologist Explains It’s only natural to be scared if you’re diagnosed with a tumor. After all, there’s no such thing as a “good tumor”. But it is still possible to receive some good news after that, such as your doctor confirming that the tumor is benign, not cancerous, and not life-threatening. That’s a great relief. But if you’re still concerned about benign tumors being cancerous and other questions boggling your mind, you’ve come to the right page. Can a benign tumor become cancerous? Do you need surgery to remove it? Keep reading to find out the answer straight from Dr. Matthew Dicker, an Interventional Radiologist of Vascular and Interventional Specialists of Prescott! How Tumors Grow According to the definition of the National Cancer Institute, a tumor is an abnormal growth of tissues when cells don’t divide or die accordingly. Dr. Matthew Dicker explains that tumors grow due to a defect in the DNA of cells, especially genes that control cells’ growth. “Some damaged genes can stop a programmed cell death to make way for healthier, new cells. Tumors grow rapidly if these cells learn how to prevent themselves from dying.” The cells’ death is just as crucial as their development. Tumors are likely to grow if the balance between cell growth and death disrupts. Not all tumors are made of cancerous cells. Some mutations can be slow and benign, while others can be malignant (cancerous), invade nearby tissue, and destroy them. Benign tumors are usually noninvasive, as per Dr. Dicker. But in unfortunate cases, they can become cancerous. Continue reading to learn more about these benign growths. [Related: What Causes Tumors?] What Is a Benign Tumor? A benign tumor is a mass made up of abnormal cells that can’t spread to other areas of the body or invade nearby normal tissue, unlike malignant tumors. The growth of benign tumors could be linked to: Exposure to environmental toxins, such as radiationGeneticsDietStressLocal trauma or injuryInflammation or infection Dr. Matthew Dicker says that initial imaging, lab tests, and biopsy are needed to detect a tumor and determine whether it is benign or malignant. Unlike malignant tumors, most benign tumors can be surgically removed easily. There are also cases when they don’t need to be removed at all. “Most benign tumors aren’t life-threatening. They can be left alone as they are unlikely to cause damage to any other areas of your body. In fact, many individuals carry benign tumors that don’t require treatment, such as moles, throughout their lives.” Common Types of Benign Tumors Benign Soft Tissue Tumors These are some types of noncancerous soft tissue tumors that can be found in various parts of the body, according to the American Cancer Society: Fibromas: noncancerous abnormal growths of fibrous tissue or connective tissue of any organGranular cell tumors: usually detected in adults that often start in the tongue but can be found almost anywhere in the bodyHemangiomas: benign tumors of blood vesselsHibernomas: benign growths of fat tissueLipomas: noncancerous tumors that grow from fat cellsLeiomyomas: benign tumors of smooth muscle that can be found anywhere in the body but are very common in the walls of the uterus where they are known as fibroidsLipoblastomas: benign fat tissue tumors that are most often seen in childrenLymphangiomas: noncancerous tumors of lymph vesselsNeurofibromas: tumors of nerve tissue that are usually benign. Neuromas: tumors of nerves that can be benign but painfulPEComas: a family of tumors made up of abnormal cells called perivascular epithelial cells. Although most of these are benign, some rare PEComas are malignant tumors (cancer). Rhabdomyomas: benign growths of skeletal and heart muscleTenosynovial giant cell tumors (also called nodular tenosynovitis): benign tumors of joint tissue Benign Skin Tumors Nevi tumor Nevi tumors are moles that grow anywhere on the body. They can vary in size, shape, and color. If a mole has grown or changed in color, size, or spread to other areas of the body, ask your doctor to provide medical advice. This could indicate skin cancer and may need to be removed. Other Types of Noncancerous Skin Tumors Seborrheic keratosesDermatofibromasDermoid cystFrecklesKeloids Benign Bone Tumors Osteochondromas The most common benign tumor for young children and adults is the osteochondromas. This occurs when there is an excess of bone and cartilage. Common symptoms include pain in the joints or muscles, shortened limbs, and hard masses. Osteochondromas are usually not painful and don’t require treatment. An X-ray can also show the tumor’s location and help determine if medication or surgery may be necessary. Other Types of Noncancerous Bone Tumors Bone-forming (osteoid osteoma, osteoblastoma, fibrous dysplasia, enostosis)Cartilage-forming (osteochondroma, enchondroma)Idiopathic (giant cell tumor, aneurysmal bone cyst, simple bone cyst) Diagnosis of Benign Tumors Early diagnosis of benign tumors is crucial so your doctor can help you plan the treatment accordingly. According to Dr. Dicker, imaging tests like X-ray, ultrasound, and CT scans are used to screen patients suspected of tumors. If a tumor is detected, doctors will then perform the next diagnostic test, which may include: Laboratory tests to determine the levels of hormones in blood and urine.Biopsy to determine whether the growth is a benign or malignant tumor. [Learn more about tumor diagnosis and treatment] Treatment for Benign Tumors Many benign tumors don’t require treatment. Once detected, your doctor may observe you from time to time to ensure that the tumors aren’t causing any problems. Treatments like medication, radiation therapy, or surgery may be necessary if symptoms become severe. Surgical procedures are typically done to remove the growths and prevent them from damaging surrounding tissues and becoming malignant. How to Live and Cope With Benign Tumors A benign tumor can be left untreated and lived with indefinitely as long as it doesn’t cause you pain, discomfort, or complications. Your doctor will keep an eye on the tumor and monitor for any changes. You’ll be asked to come in for routine exams or imaging scans if your tumor hasn’t grown. When Should You See Your Doctor? It is a good idea for you to see your doctor immediately if you notice any unusual symptoms or growths that might indicate cancer. This applies to skin lesions and unusual-looking moles. “Early detection is key for preventing the growth of cancerous cells of some benign tumors,” Dr. Dicker emphasized. VISP’s interventional radiologists are highly skilled in performing minimally invasive procedures for diagnosing and treating tumors. Call us now to make an appointment!
What Causes Tumors? [Guide to Benign and Malignant Tumors]
What Causes Tumors? [Guide to Benign and Malignant Tumors] Are you feeling fatigued lately? Are you experiencing too much sweating at night? Or are there any unusual lumps or moles in your body that suddenly showed up? It’s easy to ignore these symptoms. However, if they happen more frequently and start to hinder your normal daily routine, it might be a sign that there is tumor growth. Each cell in our bodies goes through a cycle. They can reproduce and replenish themselves when they become deficient or damaged, often without any problems. However, things don’t always go as planned. These old or damaged cells can divide rapidly, passing abnormal copies of their DNA instead of eliminating the old cells. This eventually forms a tumor or mass that can be benign or malignant. Keep reading to learn more about tumors, their causes, and the treatment options you need to know! What is a Tumor? The National Cancer Institute defines a tumor as an abnormal growth of mass of tissue that results when cells divide abnormally or do not die when they should. So, why do tumors occur? Most normal cells grow, divide, and replace each other in healthy bodies. As new cells form, the old cells will die. However, new cells can also form from cancer cells even if the body doesn’t require them. Tumors develop if the balance between cell growth and death is disrupted. Not all tumors are cancerous. Some are benign, while others can be malignant and spread throughout the body. Tumors can develop in bones, organs, and joints. Sometimes they can only be detected with imaging tests like an MRI or CT scan, PET scan, and endoscopy. A biopsy is often needed to examine the tumor under a microscope. What Causes Tumors? Most cancerous tumors are caused by DNA mutations within your cells. Your DNA is a collection of genes that controls how cells function, grow and divide. Disruption of cell growth happens if the DNA changes. This disconnection can lead to cancerous cells. Many factors can cause your genes to become mutated, resulting in benign or malignant tumor growth: Benzene and other toxic chemicalsDrinking too much alcoholEnvironmental toxins, such as poisonous mushrooms or a type that can grow on peanuts (aflatoxins), are two examples of environmental toxins.Excessive sunlight exposureGenetic problemsObesityRadiation exposureVirusesAgeHormonesSmokingimmune disorder Different Types of Tumors Benign tumors A benign tumor is often not dangerous or cancerous. They are unlikely to cause any damage to other parts of your body, even if they contain abnormal cells. Non-cancerous abnormal cells are organized. When a pathologist examines a biopsy taken from the tissue, they look like normal, well-arranged, healthy cells. The benign tumors are also not as aggressive as malignant tumors. They don’t invade nearby tissue and other parts of the body. However, benign growths can cause pain and other problems if it presses against nerves or blood vessels, or if it triggers the overproduction of hormones. Precancerous tumors develop when the body changes (hyperplasia and dysplasia). It may be necessary to remove benign tumors to confirm they aren’t cancerous and to relieve symptoms. Most benign tumors do not grow back. The following are some types of benign tumors. Adenomas – Adenomas are found in the epithelial tissue, a thin layer that covers organs and glands. These benign tumors do not start as cancer unless they change and become adenocarcinomas. Fibromas – Fibromas can develop in connective tissue or fibrous tissue. They can also grow in other internal organs. They can develop into cancerous fibrosarcomas in rare cases. Hemangiomas – Hemangiomas form when blood vessels become too large. A common example is a birthmark. Although these growths can often disappear on their own, treatments are highly advised if they are affecting eating, hearing, vision, or other functions. Lipomas – Lipomas are benign soft tissue tumors made up of fat cells. They are usually movable, soft, and slow-growing tumors that can be found in the neck, back, neck, or shoulders. Enchondroma – These benign bone tumors are found inside the bone marrow space and usually start in the cartilage. Malignant tumors Malignant tumors are cancerous. This means that their cells have undergone several abnormal DNA changes. They invade neighboring cells and multiply and divide at an alarming pace. They can copy themselves and spread their cancerous genes to other parts of the body. It could be fatal if the cancer cells continue to grow and spread. The body’s immune system can repair and remove abnormal cells (a process called apoptosis), but cancerous cells can pass unnoticed and take over the entire system. A malignant tumor can spread to nearby tissues and pass through the bloodstream. The blood can transport some cancerous cells from the primary tumor to other locations. This is known as metastatic tumors or secondary cancer. Although the tumor’s location is different from its origin, secondary or metastatic cancer is composed of cancer cells from the original site. For instance, lung cancer cells can spread to the liver if not detected nor treated immediately. Different types of malignant tumors can arise in different types of cells. Examples include: Carcinoma – These tumors are made up of epithelial cells that are found in the skin and tissues that cover the organs. Carcinomas can be found in the breast, stomach, prostate, and pancreas. Sarcoma – These tumors originate from connective tissue such as cartilage and bones. They originate in the cells outside the bone marrow. Most soft tissue sarcoma tumors are considered malignant. Leukemia – Leukemias affect blood tissues like bone marrow. The bone marrow produces large numbers of abnormal cells, which then enter the bloodstream. Lymphoma – Lymphomas are caused by the immune system. Cancer of the central nervous system – Cancer found in the spinal cord and brain tissues. Germ cell tumors – These tumors form in the cells that make sperm or eggs. These tumors are most common in the testicles or ovaries, but they can also be found in the brain, abdomen, or chest. How can tumors be detected? Early diagnosis is crucial for benign tumors. This will allow you to determine its cause and plan for the necessary operations. Tumors can be detected during a screening test such as: X-rayUltrasoundComputed Tomography scans (CT scans) After the initial imaging, doctors will perform the next diagnostic tests. Lab tests are used to measure the levels of hormones and chemicals in urine and blood. If the fluids are high or low, a pathologist might diagnose cancer.Diagnostic imaging allows doctors to access the body to identify cancerous cells. The most common imaging procedures include MRI, CT, ultrasound, PET scan, X-ray, and CT scan. If a tumor is found, the radiologists will assess the images and determine whether it is cancerous or benign.A biopsy is performed to examine the tumor and determine if it is cancerous. The test involves the collection of a sample of tumor tissue that can then be examined under the microscope by pathologists. How do doctors treat tumors? The following treatment options may be used alone or in combination to treat tumors: Surgery. Benign tumors are often surgically removed.Chemotherapy. These drugs are administered to take down cancer cells and/or to stop their growth and spread. It affects the entire body.Chemoembolization. The procedure targets cancer at its source, maximizing the effectiveness of the drugs while minimizing harm to healthy cells and reducing side effects for the patient.Radiation Therapy. Targeted beams of radiation can kill cancer cells. New technology allows pinpoint accuracy, with the goal of minimizing radiation exposure to healthy surrounding cells.Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA). To reach the tumor, specialists place a needle under the skin. Radiofrequency energy is used to heat and scar tissue.Cryoablation. Similar to RFA, it is minimally invasive and uses a needle to remove the tumor. It uses radiofrequency heat instead of extremely cold gas.Tumor Ablation. An image-guided procedure in which tumors are removed using extreme temperatures.Immunotherapy. Immunotherapy drugs either help boost the immune system so that it has more strength to fight cancer cells; or they can target and destroy certain proteins, or receptors, on cancer cells to prevent them from outmaneuvering the immune system. Other FAQs About Tumors What causes brain tumors? The cause of brain tumor is not always known but there are some risk factors that you need to watch out for: Old age.Chemical exposures (solvents, pesticides, and oil products).Family history (Research shows that abnormal gene changes cause some rare inherited cancer syndromes that increase the risk of developing brain and spinal cord tumors).Exposition to viruses, infections, and allergens.Radiation exposure.Ionizing radiation.Seizures and head injury.N-nitroso compounds. Can stress cause tumors? According to the National Cancer Institute, stress can lead to a variety of health issues, but there is no evidence it can cause cancer. There could be many ways that psychological stress and cancer may appear to have apparent links. People who are under stress might develop unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, drinking alcohol, and overeating, which are among the causes of tumor growth. Seek Medical Attention Immediately Consult your doctor if you notice any unusual growths, moles, skin rashes, and other symptoms in your body. Self-diagnosing tumors will not do you any good. Early diagnosis can help you receive the right treatment for your condition. Our vascular specialists and interventional radiologists here at VISP are more than capable of performing minimally invasive procedures to diagnose and treat tumors effectively. The procedures we use are in line with regulations provided by the National Cancer Institute. Contact us today to book an appointment!
Can Pelvic Congestion Syndrome Cause Weight Gain?
Can Pelvic Congestion Syndrome Cause Weight Gain? Are you an adult woman under 45 years? Have you had multiple pregnancies? Do you often experience chronic pelvic pain? If you answered yes to any of these questions, be extra careful of getting pelvic congestion syndrome (PCS). According to John Hopkins Medicine, an estimate of one-third of all women will experience chronic pelvic pain associated with PCS during their lifetime. Chronic pain from PCS occurs when there is blood accumulation, dilation, and congestion in your pelvic veins (also known as pelvic varicose veins). [Read: Varicose Veins: Managing Symptoms] Most women suffering from PCS are under 45 years old and have had multiple pregnancies. Now, what are the symptoms, causes, and side effects of pelvic congestion syndrome? Can it cause weight gain? Read on to find out! Pelvic Congestion Syndrome: Causes, Risks, Symptoms Pelvic congestion syndrome (pelvic venous congestion syndrome) is a chronic condition that causes pain in the lower torso (pelvic region). The condition causes painful, swollen, and bulging ovarian and pelvic veins, also known as pelvic varicose veins. The enlarged vein causes dizziness and pain when you are sexually active (dyspareunia), heavy lifting, or standing. The pain can quickly progress to a sharp, throbbing sensation that’s only relieved when you lie down. Chronic pain can last six months or more. Although it’s not related to a woman’s menstrual cycle, it can become more severe during her period. Causes Normal veins have blood flowing from the pelvis to the heart in the ovarian and ovarian veins. Valves within the vein prevent blood from flowing backward. If the ovarian vein valve becomes damaged or weak, blood can’t flow efficiently from the vein to the heart. This causes blood to backflow (reflux) and pool in the vein, leading to congestion and swelling. The result? Chronic pain, heaviness, and pelvic varicose veins. Many events may damage the pelvic veins, including: Weight gainHormonal fluctuationsMultiple pregnancies Damaged pelvic veins can cause swelling of surrounding organs such as the bladder, intestines, and rectum. Majority of women who are affected by PCS ages between 20 and 45 with multiple pregnancies. During pregnancy, hormones fluctuate, pelvic anatomy changes, and the volume of blood and estrogen increases. These conditions can weaken the walls of the blood vessels. Risks A woman who is less than 45 years old during her childbearing ageMultiple previous pregnancies (up to 2 or more)Hormonal Imbalance (dysfunction and excess)Retroverted uterus (also known as “tipped”)Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)The fullness of leg veinsVaginal, ovarian, and pelvic varicose veins Symptoms Pelvic congestion syndrome is often confused with menstrual discomfort. However, the signs of PCS usually do not appear until a woman gets pregnant. The condition worsens during subsequent pregnancies, as the ovarian veins begin to dilate and enlarge to accommodate an increased pelvic blood flow. PCS can last up to six months. The severity of pain can vary greatly from one person to another. The main symptoms could include: Chronic Pelvic Pain. The dragging pain and heaviness in the pelvis become more severe when you sit or stand, especially during menstruation. The majority of the pain associated with PCS disappears after you sleep at night.Lumbago. The pain in the lower back and muscles.Chronic pain in the hips, abdomen, and buttocks.Irritable bowel that causes persistent abdominal pain and alternating periods with diarrhea or constipation.Irritable bladder with possible stress incontinence.Dyspareunia. Pain or discomfort after or during sexual intercourse.Vaginal swelling or vulvae swellingAbdominal or pelvic tendernessPelvic varicose veins during pregnancy. Bulging veins that surround the vulva, vagina, or thighs.Vaginal discharge that’s abnormally clear or wateryDysmenorrhea or painful periodsAbnormal menstrual bleedingFatigue and lethargyIncreased urinationMood swings (anxiety, depression, and/or physical worries).HeadachesBloating in the abdomen [Read: Varicose Veins: Why Standing & Sitting Are So Bad For You (And What To Do About It)] Diagnosis and Treatment How Is Pelvic Congestion Syndrome Diagnosed? Diagnosing pelvic congestion syndrome is complicated because many women, especially those who have children, show enlarged pelvic blood vessels in a standard ultrasound or MRI. PCS diagnosis is only given to women with enlarged pelvic veins or chronic pelvic pain. A thorough examination of the patient’s medical history, symptoms, and pain duration is necessary to diagnose the problem. To diagnose PCS, the patient must have experienced pain for at least 6 months. These tests will help the doctor identify dilated pelvic veins or vaginal varicose veins and determine if you have pelvic congestion syndrome: Blood testsMRITransvaginal and pelvic ultrasoundCT scanDiagnostic laparoscopyPelvic venography Pelvic Congestion Syndrome Treatment Your doctor may recommend additional diagnostic tests depending on the severity and nature of your pain. Once PCS is confirmed, an interventional radiologist can perform an ovarian vein embolization. Ovarian Vein Embolization involves placing a small catheter into the enlarged pelvic veins through a tiny incision using x-ray guidance. It’s a minimally invasive procedure that can relieve pain and other symptoms. [For detailed treatment information, read: Vein Specialist Explains Pelvic Congestion Syndrome Treatment] FAQs about Pelvic Congestion Syndrome Can pelvic congestion syndrome cause weight gain? PCS doesn’t usually cause weight gain. Enlargement of the pelvic veins happens when there is retained blood, which may seem like you’ve gained weight. Does pelvic congestion cause bloating? Bloating isn’t a common symptom, but some PCS patients may experience it. This symptom is usually associated with menstruation, such as fibroids or endometriosis. Can pelvic congestion cause bowel problems? Yes, PCS irritates the bowel and results in recurrent abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhea. Does pelvic congestion cause frequent urination? Dilated pelvic veins can cause bladder irritation, leading to an urge to urinate more frequently. Get Expert Advice Talk to your doctor if you suspect you may have PCS. The uncomfortable symptoms of this complex medical condition can adversely affect your quality of life. PCS is treatable through minimally invasive methods with minimal downtime. Just make sure to seek medical attention soon as you get the signs. Vascular and Interventional Specialists of Prescott (VISP) can help you if you have a medical problem such as pelvic congestion syndrome, chronic pain, or varicose veins. We offer top-quality care and minimally invasive treatments for different vascular issues with minimal downtime. Contact us if you’ve got any questions or if you need a consultation. Vascular and Interventional Specialty of Prescott (VISP), can be reached at (928) 771-847.
How To Prevent DVT [5 Tips from A Vein Specialist]
How To Prevent DVT [5 Tips from A Vein Specialist] Did you know that about 350,000-900,000 patients in the United States are diagnosed with venous thromboembolism (blood clots) yearly? These clots are associated with a condition called Deep Vein Thrombosis. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) happens when a blood clot forms in the deep veins in your body. The condition usually occurs on the legs, thigh, or pelvis. It causes pain and swelling. DVT is a disease that requires serious medical attention. If left untreated, it can develop into a more serious condition such as pulmonary embolism. Individuals with an unhealthy lifestyle, blood clot history, and other health conditions may be at risk. But despite the risk factors and complications associated with deep vein thrombosis, it is still preventable. Dr. Matthew Dicker, vein specialist at VISP, will discuss here the ways to prevent DVT. Continue reading! 5 Signs of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Consult your doctor if you notice these common signs and symptoms of deep vein thrombosis: Leg pain that starts in your calf and worsens when bending your footSwelling and tendernessWarm skin in the affected leg and other areasCrampsRedness or discoloration of the affected skin (can also be bluish or whitish) About one-third or one-half of DVT patients experience post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS). It is a life-threatening medical condition that happens when the blood clot breaks free and travels through your circulatory system. It can block the blood flowing through your lungs and damage your vein valves. Seek immediate medical attention if you see these signs or symptoms of PTS: Sudden shortness of breathChest pain that worsens with a deep breath or coughCoughing up bloodRapid or irregular heartbeat 5 Tips to Prevent Blood Clot and DVT Here are some tips to help you prevent blood clots and DVT, according to Dr. Dicker. 1. Practice a healthy lifestyle Many diseases are preventable if you do the basics of living healthily. This includes: Managing a healthy weight through a low-fat, high-fiber diet with vegetables and fruits.Exercising regularlyDrinking plenty of water to stay hydrated. Hydration is significant in reducing blood viscosity.Quitting smoking. If you aren’t a smoker yet, avoid it. Cigarettes affect blood clotting and circulation, which in turn increases the risk of DVT. 2. Take your doctor’s post-surgery advice Patients who undergo a surgical procedure are often at risk of experiencing blood clots. You may also get a DVT when you become less active after your surgery. To prevent this, your doctor may prescribe anticoagulants or blood thinners. Wearing compression stockings or sleeves on your legs is also advisable to maintain good blood circulation. For the post-recovery prevention tips, raise your bed footing instead of using pillows under your legs. Exercise whenever you can and take your prescribed medicines diligently. 3. Take care when traveling long distance If you’re on a long-distance trip and you need to sit still for long hours, there are ways to improve circulation of blood and prevent clots and DVT: Avoid sitting for long periods. Get up, move around, walk and stretch between connecting flights.If you’re traveling by car, you can find a stopover to rest and walk around for a few minutes.If you’re stuck in your seat on the train or airplane, you can move your leg muscles by stretching your legs, flexing your feet, and curling your toes down.If you’re walking long distances, avoid wearing tight clothes. Compression stockings or socks might help you keep optimal blood flow circulation. 4. Ask for medical advice regarding your family’s health history Does your family have any history of blood disorders and other diseases? Ask your doctor to provide medical advice regarding your history. Certain risk factors of DVT are associated with your family’s health history: Prior DVT or PE experienceAny DVT, PE, or blood clotting history among your family members 5. Be diligent with your medications and health checkups Do you have any existing health conditions that may put you at risk for blood clotting and DVT? Make sure to follow your doctor’s advice to prevent deep vein thrombosis and other blood disorders. You are at risk of DVT if you have these health conditions: Prior DVT or PE experienceOld ageObesityPregnancyYou’re taking birth control pills or going through hormone replacement therapyVein injuries caused by fractures, muscle injuries, or surgical procedures in the abdomen and lower parts of the bodyYou’ve been confined to bed for long periodsParalysisChronic medical conditions such as heart disease, lung complications, cancer, and inflammatory bowel illnesses Does drinking water help prevent DVT? Yes, dehydration is a common risk factor for DVT. Hydration reduces the viscosity of blood, making it thick and sluggish. Drink lots of fluids, but avoid caffeinated and alcoholic drinks as they can make your veins narrower and your blood thicker, which may lead to clotting. Consult A Vein Specialist For Your Blood Clot and DVT Concerns Are you experiencing any symptoms of blood clots, DVT, or pulmonary embolism? Do you have any existing conditions that may put you at risk for these health disorders? Make sure to consult a vein specialist or go to the nearest hospital immediately to conduct the right procedures for your condition. Delaying it may only put you in more danger and lengthier recovery time If you need a medical consultation for deep vein thrombosis or other vascular problems, the clinic of the Vascular and Interventional Specialists of Prescott is here to help you. We have safe and top-level care treatment for various vascular problems with quick recovery time! Visit our website to know more about our services, or call us at 928.771.8477 to book an appointment today.
Back Pain Specialist Explains: Epidural for Back Pain [Pros and Cons]
Back Pain Specialist Explains: Epidural for Back Pain [Pros and Cons] Epidural injections for back pain relief are increasingly becoming more popular. In a 2015 study involving 120 participants with low back pain who received four epidural steroid injections in a year, researchers found that more than 50% experienced pain relief and functional status improvements. As a back pain relief, the injection transports the steroid medication (also known as cortisone) to the inflamed nerve roots within the epidural space (the fat-filled area between the bone and protective sac of the nerves). The anesthetics stop the pain-spasm-pain cycle, while the steroid reduces the irritation in the treatment area. While epidurals can tone down the symptoms of chronic back pain, the underlying causes may still linger in the body. Like similar spinal injections, getting an epidural injection for pain management has benefits and risks. Our resident vascular specialists here at VISP will weigh them for you. Continue reading to learn more about the pros and cons of epidural steroid injections. How Epidural Steroid Injections as Back Pain Relief Work For people suffering from chronic low back pain, receiving an epidural steroid injection can significantly provide immediate pain relief and improve body functions. Doctors typically recommend this procedure, in conjunction with physical therapy, to alleviate pain from: Herniated discs that damage and press nerves causing painSpinal stenosis or the narrowing of the spinal canalFailed back surgery syndrome (post-operative chronic back or leg pain)Bone spurs due to joint damage associated with osteoarthritisOther injuries to spinal nerves, vertebral column, and surrounding tissues Epidural steroid injections involve injecting steroids and anesthetics into the inflamed nerve roots within the epidural space. The steroid reduces inflammation in the area with back pain while the anesthetics interrupt the pain-spasm cycle. The combination of the two helps with the pain management abilities of other areas of the spine. One to two injections with 1-4 week intervals can give a satisfactory effect to patients with mild low back pain. Meanwhile, those with chronic conditions can get the injections at 3-6 months intervals. The length of pain relief varies, lasting for weeks or years. It’s ideal to receive epidural injections together with exercise programs such as physical therapy to reinforce back muscles and prevent future inflammation. Epidural For Back Pain (Pros and Cons) Now, let’s dive into the benefits and drawbacks of epidural steroid injections. Pros The benefits of epidural steroid injections include: Epidural injections are generally noninvasive and safe especially when performed by an experienced and skilled medical practitionerPatients can return to their normal daily routine the next day after the procedureLow risk with minimal side effectsReceiving epidural injections allow you to postpone or eliminate the need for a surgical procedure, especially if you combine the medication with physical therapyThe injection can be used to relieve back pain, as well as pain in the neck and leg.Epidural injections have a high success rate. The effects can last for several days or years. The injection improves the quality of life of patients suffering from mild to excruciating back pain. It relieves pain and allows the individual to get back to their regular activities the next day. Who’s a candidate? Aside from back pain, an epidural injection also benefits those with neck, arm, and leg pain (sciatica). Specifically, those with the following conditions: Spinal stenosisHerniated discsSpondylolisthesis (nerve root pain due to weakness between the upper and lower facets of a vertebra)Degenerative disc associated with agingSciatica (pain that occurs when there’s a pinched or compressed nerve root in the lower back, which radiates down to the buttock, thigh, legs, or foot) Cons Epidural Steroid Injections may bring a patient these drawbacks: Risky if done by an inexperienced doctor. A misplaced needle can irritate the already inflamed spinal nerves further.The medication can infect the brain, spinal cord, or other areas near the injection site.If not administered properly, an epidural steroid injection can damage the arteries and cause bleeding within the soft tissues, epidural space, and spinal membranes. The condition may lead to a blood clot.Some patients may experience low blood pressure and heart rate.Prolonged treatment might lead to a higher risk of osteoporosis (weak bones).Can be costly considering the short-term pain relief it provides.Facial flushing in rare cases.The steroids may lump together and build up in the blood vessels which may lead to poor blood flow in the spinal cord. The condition is more likely to occur in patients with allergic reactions to steroids or local anesthetic, and those who are over 50 years old.Other possible side effects: bleeding, nerve damage, ulcers, dural puncture, high blood sugar levels, or cataracts. Who Should Avoid Epidural Injections? Like other medical procedures, steroid injections may not be suitable as a chronic back pain relief to people with certain health conditions. Make sure to consult your doctor first if you have any of these issues: InfectionBleeding issuesDiabetesGlaucomaPregnancy FAQs About Getting an Epidural Steroid Injection What are the risks of getting an epidural for back pain? An epidural steroid injection procedure is associated with the following risks: BleedingNerve damageStomach ulcersDural punctureHigh blood sugar levelsCataractsOsteoporosis What are the long-term side effects of epidural steroid injections? Among the risks of epidural steroid injections, these are the long term side effects that you should be careful of: InfectionBleedingEndocrine effectsNeurotoxicityNeurologic injury Do epidurals weaken your back? Epidural steroid injections are anti-inflammatory medical drugs that are usually limited to just a few a year. Steroids can weaken your spinal bones and nearby muscles if not taken according to their recommended dosage. How Long Do Epidural Injections Last For Back Pain? Depending on the patient’s condition, epidurals can relieve pain for several days or years. Epidural injections are done together with physical therapy and/or other exercise programs to reinforce back muscles and prevent future inflammation. What are other nonsurgical alternatives for back pain relief? Although magic pills don’t exist, back pain shouldn’t be a thing that you just have to live with. There are many other minimally invasive choices to help you feel healthier and significantly improve your quality of life. According to Dr. David Lloyd, neuroradiologist with Dignity Health, Yavapai Regional Medical Center and Vascular and Interventional Specialists of Prescott, vertebroplasty is a highly effective and noninvasive back pain relief alternative to epidurals. Vertebroplasty is commonly recommended for compression fractures of the spine, which are most often found in osteoporosis patients. A cement-like material is injected into the broken bone to stabilize the fracture. Most patients experience pain relief and the renewed ability to go back to their daily activities almost immediately. How To Prevent the Side Effects of Epidural Injections? Generally, epidural steroid injections are safe for pain management. Talk to a doctor to make sure that you don’t have any underlying conditions that may be at risk with steroids and needles. Additionally, consult with a trusted and highly experienced doctor. Find qualified physicians such as physiatrists (PM&R), radiologists, anesthesiologists, neurologists, and surgeons. If you need a medical consultation for your body pain problems, VISP – Vascular and Interventional Specialists of Prescott is here to help you. Our expert radiologists can administer you with epidural steroid injection and prescribe you other pain relief methods according to your condition! Visit our website to know more about our services, or call us at 928.771.8477 to book an appointment today.
Treatment for Blocked Arteries in Legs | Vascular & Interventional Specialists of Prescott
When to Get Treatment for Blocked Arteries in Legs [Peripheral Artery Disease] Do you have chronic leg pain? Are your pain relievers not effective enough for your lower backache? Your arteries in the legs might be blocked. Blocked arteries in the legs cause blood to flow less to your legs. This condition is often known as Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). If the leg pain caused by PAD becomes severe, you may have to stop your regular physical activities and undergo treatment from your trusted healthcare provider. But when exactly do you need to seek treatment for blocked arteries in your legs? Let’s discuss that in this article. When To Get Treatment For Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Symptoms of Blocked Arteries In Legs Most peripheral artery disease patients do not have symptoms. Those who experience PAD symptoms might feel heavy, tired, or cramping legs when walking or exercising. The pain usually disappears when the physical activity stops. The symptom is called claudication – leg muscle pain or cramping occurs during physical activities and disappears after a few minutes of rest. The severity of claudication differs from individual to individual. Severe claudication causes debilitating pain and makes it difficult for the patient to walk and participate in other physical activities. Other symptoms of PAD include: Painful cramps in one or both of your hips, thighs, or calf muscles after doing physical activities, such as walking or climbing stairsNumbness or weakness in the legsUnusual cold lower leg or footProlonged soreness on your toes, feet, or legsA change in the color of your legsLoss of hair on feet and legsSlower growth of toenailsNo pulse or a weak pulse in your legs or feetErectile dysfunction in menPain or cramping in the arms, especially when knitting, writing, or doing other manual tasks The pain caused by peripheral artery disease may be intense enough to disrupt sleep. Consult a vascular doctor immediately for medication and treatment. Causes of Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Peripheral artery disease is often caused by a condition called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis occurs when plaque (deposits made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances) builds up inside the arteries, limiting blood flow to your organs and other body parts. The condition usually focuses on the heart, but it can affect arteries in other parts of the body, including the limbs. Aside from atherosclerosis, these are the other possible causes of peripheral artery disease: blood vessel inflammationinjury to your limbsunusual anatomy of your ligaments or musclesradiation exposure. The risk factors Given the above causes, people who smoke or have diabetes have a high risk of developing PAD due to blood flow issues. Aside from smoking and diabetes, certain risk factors can also damage the blood vessel wall and cause arterial blockages: High cholesterolHigh blood pressureObesity (a body mass index over 30)Old age, especially those are over 50 years oldA family history of peripheral artery disease, heart disease, or heart attacksHigh levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that helps your body make protein and to build and maintain tissue How To Find Out If You Have PAD Here are some tests that your healthcare provider may do to diagnose peripheral artery disease: Physical exam. Your physician will diagnose signs of PAD during a physical exam, such as a weak pulse near a narrowed area in the artery, a whooshing sound in your arteries using a stethoscope, wound signs in areas with restricted blood flow, and high blood pressure. Ankle-brachial index (ABI). A common test is used to compare the blood pressure in your ankle with the blood pressure in your arm.Your doctor will use a regular sphygmomanometer to read blood pressure, and special ultrasound imaging techniques to analyze blood pressure and flow and identify artery blockages. You may be asked to do certain exercises like walking and read your bp before and immediately after exercising to capture the severity of the narrowed arteries. Blood tests. The doctor will take a sample of your blood to measure your cholesterol and triglycerides levels and check any signs of diabetes. Angiography. Using an x-ray imaging test, the doctor will be able to view your body’s blood vessels. Angiography is useful when analyzing narrow, blocked, enlarged, or malformed arteries in various parts of your body, including the brain, heart, abdomen, and limbs. Treatment for Peripheral Artery Disease According to the American Heart Association, lifestyle changes, exercise, and claudication medications are enough to slow the progression or even reverse the symptoms of mild PAD. Depending on your health conditions, your doctor can advise you to undergo medical procedures if: You have severe symptoms that limit your ability to live your daily routine.Simpler treatments, such as exercise, lifestyle changes, and medicine, aren’t effective. Here are the treatment options your recommend may advise you to have: Peripheral Angioplasty And Arterial Stent Placement Sometimes called balloon angioplasty with stenting, this procedure is done after performing an angiogram and confirming a blockage. The doctor inserts a balloon-tipped catheter into the blocked blood vessel to push the plaque against the artery wall and widen the opening to increase blood flow. Bare metal or drug-eluting stents may also be inserted to try to prevent restenosis, but stents cannot always be used. Atherectomy Atherectomy is a procedure performed by inserting a catheter within the blood vessel to remove the plaque that is blocking an artery by “shaving” it off from the inside of the arterial wall. Atherectomy can be performed at the same time as a peripheral angiogram. Have Your Peripheral Artery Disease Treated By An Expert Peripheral artery disease can be frustrating, especially when it restricts you to live your life normally. Don’t get discouraged, though. PAD is curable. Consult a doctor if you feel any signs of PAD. Lifestyle modifications and home remedies are often recommended to those with mild PAD diagnosis, while others are encouraged to undergo medical procedures. If you need a medical consultation for your blocked leg arteries, VISP – Vascular and Interventional Specialists of Prescott is here to help you. We have top-level care treatment and minimally invasive procedures for arterial conditions with quick recovery time! Visit our website to know more about our services, or call us at 928.771.8477 to book an appointment today!