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Local Medical Professionals Initiate Limb Salvage Group
BOARDMAN, Ohio (January 14, 2013) – A passion for limb salvage led a pair of local foot and ankle surgeons to form a Mahoning Valley chapter of a national organization that aims to reduce lower limb amputations related to diabetes and other medical conditions by 25 percent.
The newly formed group, comprised of 45 local medical professionals from diverse disciplines and organizations throughout Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties, welcomed Save a Leg, Save a Life’s (SALSAL) co-founder Dr. Desmond Bell as the keynote speaker at its January meeting in Boardman. Dr. Bell shared his vision for the organization and challenged attendees to look at amputation as a treatment failure, not a treatment option.
Ankle & Foot Care Centers podiatric surgeons Dr. Lawrence A. DiDomenico and Dr. Gregory Blasko initiated the formation of the local SALSAL chapter.
“Technology now exists that allows us to improve wound healing and make limb salvage much more possible,” said Dr. DiDomenico. “If medical professionals aren’t aware of these advances many times patients are only offered amputation as a treatment option, which is no longer acceptable.
“SALSAL enables the medical community at-large to meet, share our collective experience and knowledge, and stay up-to-date on treatment plans that can reduce lower-leg amputations.”
Dr. Bell shared some of the latest medical advancements in limb salvage and details about the organization’s mission, which is to reduce the number of lower extremity amputations by 25 percent and improve the quality of life for individuals afflicted with wounds, complications of diabetes and peripheral artery disease.
Founders of the local SALSAL chapter are already using many of these new technology and treatment options to improve patient outcomes across the Valley.
“It’s not just the trauma of losing a lower limb,” Dr. Blasko said. “Research shows that the three-year mortality rate after an amputation is 50 percent, and after five years it’s an even more astonishing 40 percent.”
The chapter’s work is not just for patient health, but also to reduce healthcare costs nationwide.
SALSAL’s website claims the average annual cost of post-amputation care is $49,000 per year, compared to just around $800 for limb-salvage and follow-up care, meaning if the organization can reach its goal of reducing amputations by 25 percent nation-wide it could save $4 billion per year in healthcare costs.
Medical professionals interested in learning more about quality of care of patients with wounds and their underlying medical conditions, and peripheral artery disease, are encouraged to join the local SALSAL chapter by contacting Dr. DiDomenico or Dr. Blasko.
Ankle & Foot Care Centers is the region's largest podiatric care provider, with 16 physicians and surgeons serving patients at 18 local offices, located in Alliance, Austintown, Boardman (2), Campbell, Champion, Columbiana, East Liverpool, East Palestine, Greenville (Pa.), Lake Milton, Liberty, Niles, Poland, Salem, Struthers, Warren and Youngstown. Specific locations and other information are located on the group's website, at www.ankleandfootcare.com.
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