John Beck: Vascular Surgery
“I enjoy the serenity of fishing, and I am grateful for the care that has given me another season on the lake,” said Jackson resident John Beck. For the past year, vascular surgeon Paul Corcoran, MD, has been treating John for dangerous aneurysms and blood clots behind both knees. “He’s an excellent, compassionate doctor who has been tireless in providing good care,” John’s wife, Megan, said.
John was sealing his deck in late August when he began getting “Charlie horses” in the back of his right thigh. “I got off the stepladder and tried to do some stretches, but that didn’t help,” John recalled. “Then my legs went numb below the knee.”
At the Henry Ford Allegiance Health Emergency Department, tests revealed aneurysms behind both of John’s knees and both sides of his groin. These are weakened areas in the wall of a artery that stretch and bulge. In the legs, aneurysms typically contain blood clots that can break off and block blood flow in other parts of the body. If it is large enough, this type of aneurysm can press on a nerve or vein and cause pain, swelling and numbness.
Two of John’s aneurysms were large enough to require surgery. Paul Corcoran, MD, reconstructed the artery in the groin with a synthetic graft. He then performed a vascular bypass to reroute blood flow around the aneurysm behind the right knee. It was determined that the smaller aneurysm behind John’s left knee would continue to be monitored while he recovered from surgery.
In December, Dr. Corcoran placed a stent in the artery behind John’s left knee to improve blood circulation. John started working out in January to get back in shape. But, at the end of the month, his left foot went numb while he was doing leg lifts. This took him back to Henry Ford Allegiance Health’s Emergency Department, where tests showed that John now had a blood clot in his left leg.
This time, Dr. Corcoran used EKOS technology to dissolve the blood clot. He inserted a small tube called a catheter into the artery behind John’s knee. Ultrasonic waves emitted through the catheter loosened the blood clot, making it more receptive to clot-dissolving medication that targeted the area. John admits the procedure was “pretty difficult. I had to lie still for 18 hours afterward without getting up.” But looking back, he said, “It was all worth it. It saved my leg and my life.”
John is regaining his leg strength and returning to his favorite activities, including fishing on Ackerson Lake and golfing. He is grateful to Dr. Corcoran and his staff. “They were all really nice and took great care of me,” John said. Dr. Corcoran continues to monitor the aneurysm behind John’s left knee.