In this health video learn how a simple laser treatment could help you keep your legs.
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Jennifer Matthews: For now, memories of exotic vacations will have to do. The Paxton's were grounded when Gertrude's legs refused to budge. Gertrude Paxton: I felt that way, that I had weights on my legs. It was hard. And then there was pain. Jennifer Matthews: One look at her angiogram showed doctors why. Dr. Mason Weiss: There is no blood going through this stent right down here, so it's all completely closed. Jennifer Matthews: Three main arteries in her legs are blocked with plaque, similar to a slow, continuous heart attack in the leg. Left untreated, peripheral artery disease causes sores and eventually amputation of a foot or leg. But now with the Turbo Booster laser, doctors are shaving off large chunks of plaque in the arteries above the knees. The Turbo Booster vaporizes blockages into tiny particles absorbed into the blood stream. Dr. Mason Weiss: Now that we have this Turbo Booster, it allows us to cut in multiple planes, a channel through that artery and essentially remove a lot more plaque. Jennifer Matthews: Short term, blood flow is restored, wounds heal, pain disappears. Mason Weiss: No pain in your calves and your thighs. Jennifer Matthews: Long term, doctors don't know yet. They hope removing plaque rather than pushing it aside with a stent will offer longer-lasting results. Gertrude is back on her feet, slowly training for another trip abroad. Next stop -- legs willing -- Greece. This is Jennifer Matthew's reporting.