Temple's Limb Salvage Center provides options for saving your limbs from amputations

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A local doctor noticed a disturbing trend which led him to help create a new center at Temple Health.

When Dr. Eric Choi first came to Temple Health 10 years ago, he noticed something that alarmed him.

"There were so many young patients who had leg amputations and I did not expect that," he said.

He said complications from diabetes and kidney dialysis can lead to a necessary amputation but it doesn't necessarily have to, if caught early.

That's the message he hopes to get across with the Limb Salvage Center, which is part of Temple's Heart and Vascular Institute.

"If they got the message that you can actually come to the hospital early enough, there may be options at that point to save the leg," he said.

Something 43-year-old Kenya Thomas, of North Philadelphia, learned firsthand.

"They didn't have to amputate my foot or up to my knee or my knee. They just had to amputate the toe," she said.

And that's because she got help when she felt pain in her toe.

Thomas knew her risk factors for amputation were high.

"She happened to have diabetes pretty much all her life" said Dr. Choi. "She is blind, she has had kidney failure and she's on dialysis and she does have circulation problems. But she's getting through all of it. She's very proactive,"

For Thomas, yes they had to amputate one toe, but Dr. Choi was able to perform a bypass improving circulation to her legs overall, thus sparing them.

"I'm walking around, I'm getting a lot of blood going down to my legs now," said Thomas.

Thomas' prognosis is good which is what Dr. Choi hopes to do for more patients as the public learns there are other options out there as long as you get early intervention.
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