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"Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships,” said basketball great Michael Jordan. That’s true on the court and accurate in the operating room.

To address various arterial blockages, Duerk Bruhl, of Brown Deer, needed vascular surgery at Froedtert Menomonee Falls Hospital, part of the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network. Abby Rothstein, MD, vascular surgeon and MCW faculty member, and Robert Beres, MD, vascular and interventional radiologist and MCW faculty member, worked together in a single surgery to provide a less invasive experience for Duerk that led to a faster recovery.

A good walker who was logging 15,000 steps a day, Duerk began having trouble last summer. “When I got close to 5,000 steps a day, I had soreness,” Duerk said. “By September, I needed ibuprofen to make it through the day.”

Blockages in Duerk’s femoral artery had reduced the blood flow to his legs, resulting in pain that made walking difficult and often woke him up at night, as well as an ulcer between his toes. To clear the blockage, or stenosis, Dr. Rothstein performed a bilateral femoral endarterectomy.

“We made small incisions in the groin to access the artery, cleaned out the plaque and placed a patch so that we didn’t narrow the artery when we closed it,” Dr. Rothstein said.

Duerk also had stenosis higher up in his pelvis, in the common iliac artery that stems from the aorta. This is where Dr. Beres stepped in.

“Rather than performing a larger surgery in the belly, we used the site of Dr. Rothstein’s procedure to pass a series of catheters and wires up to the common iliac artery where we placed a stent,” Dr. Beres said.

“The surgery went fantastic,” Duerk said. “I had it on Monday and went home on Friday. I was up and walking in no time and am back up to 7,000 steps a day with no pain.”

“When I have patients with vascular disease in arteries near the groin, we often employ this collaborative hybrid approach,” Dr. Rothstein said. “It’s less invasive and people have a quicker recovery.”

“It’s nice to work together across specialties, to put minds and skills together in a synergistic effort to do the best for the patient,” Dr. Beres said.

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