Specialty Treatment for Extremity Preservation (STEP) Program

For those suffering from non-healing wounds of the foot, gangrene, threatened limb due to lack of circulations Cooper University Health Care, offers an array of comprehensive and state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment options for peripheral vascular disease (PVD) or peripheral artery disease (PAD) aimed at preserving patients’ limbs and keeping them independent and functional.

As a regional referral center, and the region’s leading academic health system, our experts handle some of the most challenging and difficult cases and provide care for patients transferred from other hospitals.

Why Choose Cooper for Peripheral Vascular Disease Care?

  • Expert Care: Cooper’s Vascular STEP Program has five surgeons certified by the American Board of Surgery (ABS) in vascular/endovascular surgery – most of whom are dual certified by the ABS in general surgery as well – ensuring that any surgeries for PVD are performed safely, quickly, and with the highest level of expertise. Our expert vascular surgeons are well-versed in the entire spectrum of procedures for PVD, ensuring that patients at Cooper receive truly comprehensive vascular care.
  • State-of-the-Art Diagnostics: A correct diagnosis of PVD requires expertise in patient evaluation and quick, reliable testing. We offer same-day ultrasound testing in our clinics to diagnose PVD and follow up after treatment.
  • Latest Treatment Options: While other vascular centers may focus on only one facet of care for PVD, Cooper’s vascular team offers state-of-the-art care that ranges from medical management of the condition to minimally invasive procedures and surgery. Many procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis, avoiding the need for hospital stays.
  • Same-Day Appointments: We are often able to offer same-day appointments with a vascular surgeon or advance practice provider to make sure you get the care you need when you need it.
  • Care Close to Home: Cooper’s PVD and limb preservation team is able to see patients in any Cooper Vascular Clinic location, so you receive timely and convenient care close to home.
  • Multidisciplinary Care: Cooper’s Vascular STEP Program also incorporates multidisciplinary experts from other areas such as podiatry, orthopaedic surgery, plastic surgery, endocrinology, and wound care. We work with our patients to help get timely appointments as needed within Cooper.

Treating Peripheral Vascular Disease

Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, is a buildup of plaque (cholesterol, inflammatory cells, and calcium) within the blood vessels that supply blood to the legs. This can limit blood flow to the tissue of the lower extremities, and is known as peripheral vascular disease or peripheral arterial disease.

Peripheral vascular disease is a common and progressive condition that can have a major impact on a person’s quality of life. If it is undiagnosed and untreated, the condition can become severe enough to cause complications such as wounds and gangrene, and may even lead to amputation.

However, if diagnosed early, treatments such as targeted medication and exercise therapy may improve symptoms without surgery. In patients with severe or progressive disease, angioplasty (opening up the arteries by dilating them with a balloon), stenting (placement of a wire scaffold within the artery to hold it open), or even bypass (surgical creation of a new blood flow pathway around the area of blockage) may be needed to save the leg.

PVD treatments from Cooper specialists include:

  • Risk factor modification: smoking cessation, increase in exercise, good eating habits, control blood pressure and diabetes.
  • Smoking cessation
  • Angiograms, angioplasty, and stenting
  • Percutaneous thrombectomy
  • Directional and orbital atherectomy
  • Endarterectomy and bypass


Bruce L. Tjaden Jr., MD
Director, Specialty Treatment for Extremity Preservation (STEP) Program
Vascular and Endovascular Surgeon

Contact Us

To learn more about limb preservation at Cooper or to schedule an appointment, please call 800.8.COOPER (800.826.6737).

Refer a Patient

Referring physicians are welcome to call us any time at 800.8.COOPER (800.826.6737) with questions or concerns about Cooper’s limb preservation services to refer a patient to our care.