Institute for Limb Preservation at PSLMC

Limb preservation services in Denver, CO

Institute for Limb Preservation® (ILP) is a team of medical professionals specializing in management of complex extremity problems and treatment of conditions and diseases that place people at risk of losing a limb.

For more than 30 years, this group—located at Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center (P/SL) and Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children (RMHC)—has established itself as the Rocky Mountain region's premier medical community to evaluate and treat diseases and trauma that affect the extremities.

Our multidisciplinary limb preservation team

Our team of experts includes specialists in orthopedic surgery, vascular surgery, oncology, infectious disease, plastic surgery and pediatric subspecialties.

Our team of experts includes specialists in orthopedic surgery, vascular surgery, oncology, infectious disease, plastic surgery and pediatric subspecialties. This group of physicians manages complex extremity issues with a collaborative team approach to care. This includes:

  • Weekly meetings across disciplines to share knowledge of advances in technology and techniques
  • Offering the latest treatments with proven success based on the on-going Extremities at Risk clinical research
  • Active involvement in outcome studies, publications and presentations at world-wide medical conferences
  • Full-time referral coordinator to assist with new patient referrals, appointments, transportation and lodging during the patient work-up
  • Patient navigator as a central point of contact for limb threatening diagnoses

Meet Your Patient Navigator

Your Central Point of Contact for Limb Threatening Diagnoses

Jennifer Flores
(800) 262-5462
Patient Navigator

Jennifer is a member of our multidisciplinary team and functions as an advocate and educator for patients with limb threatening diagnoses from point of entry through discharge. Understanding and navigating your complex care plan may feel overwhelming, but Jennifer is here to help every step of the way.

The Institute for Limb Preservation program at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center fosters a patient-centered, team-based, innovative approach to the diagnoses and treatment of complex limb and life-threatening conditions and is committed to helping you achieve your goals. We strive to educate patients and their families to ensure they fully understand their treatment plan. Your central resource is our Institute for Limb Preservation Navigator, Jennifer Flores.

Jennifer’s role includes:

  • Facilitating communication between all members of the healthcare team
  • Helping patients understand the pre-planning necessary before undergoing surgery, such as arranging for home help, pet care and preparing your home
  • Providing a connection to the Limb Preservation Foundation
  • Serving as a reliable and trusted source with answers to varied questions
  • Providing a personalized touch to care by visiting patients during their hospital stay
  • Being available to communicate with patients following surgery

Our history

The Institute for Limb Preservation, formerly known as the Denver Clinic, was established at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center by Drs. Ross Wilkins and Thomas Arganese in 1986. Prior to its existence, patients were forced to visit a variety of physicians and facilities to receive the necessary treatments. Under Drs. Wilkins and Arganese’s innovative orthopedic model, plastic surgery, oncology, radiology and the treatment of infectious diseases could be conveniently found under one roof.

Thanks to this model, which serves as a prototype for many programs throughout the world, patients facing life- and limb-threatening cancers and diseases now have a 90 percent survival rate and a 95 percent limb preservation rate.

Our limb preservation programs

The collective experience and specialized knowledge of our limb preservation team allow the ILP to treat the full spectrum of limb conditions, diseases and injuries.

Amputation program

When amputation is chosen to address a persistent limb problem, the patient is guided through the procedure, recovery, physical therapy, rehabilitation, prosthetic fitting and psychological concerns resulting from amputation. We are an amputation Center of Excellence with advanced expertise in amputation treatment and leading technology for prosthetic devices.

Procedures and components of our amputation program include:

  • Ertl-Type amputations
  • Transition of traditional to Ertl-Type amputations
  • Latest technology prosthetics
  • Osseointegration technology
  • Prosthetics & orthotics
  • Support groups for patients considering amputation
  • Targeted muscle reinnervation
  • Residual limb lengthening

Bone-healing program

We provide surgical treatment options using the latest innovations in bone-healing technologies, as well as time-honored approaches to provide the best options for people with bone-healing problems.

Our bone-healing treatment options include:

  • Vascularized bone grafting
  • Allograft bone transplantation
  • Deformity correction (crooked bones and/or short bones)
  • Stem cell grafting
  • Internal and external fixation options
  • Custom titanium cage implantation

Sarcoma (bone and soft tissue tumors) program

The ILP is recognized for its expertise in the management of adult and pediatric extremity tumors and provide expert evaluation and treatment for patients with bone or soft tissue sarcomas. We also treat patients with metastatic tumors to the bone.

Our approach to patient care focuses on “life over limb,” but with successful management of sarcomas using the appropriate chemotherapy protocols, including intra-arterial chemotherapy, we offer many limb-sparing surgical options. Some of these innovative techniques have been pioneered by physicians on our team.

  • Allograft procedures
  • Custom implant designs
  • Foam metal technologies
  • Growing prosthesis for children
  • Innovative amputation techniques
  • Soft tissue-reconstruction options

Mangled-extremity program

Our mangled-extremity program is a referral-based system for patients who are medically stable following significant trauma that has resulted in complex extremity injury. This program focuses on treatments including:

  • Amputation surgery
  • Internal and external fixation options
  • Early soft-tissue coverage
  • Fracture stabilization techniques
  • Management of infection
  • Restoring lost segments of bone
  • Vascularized bone and soft tissue

Avascular necrosis program

Avascular necrosis, also known as osteonecrosis, can be extremely debilitating and affects up to 20,000 new people each year. It usually stems from a history of alcoholism, significant joint trauma or chronic steroid use for management of systemic diseases.

Our team of orthopedic and plastic surgeons provides surgical options for management of osteonecrosis of the hip, knee, ankle, shoulder and elbow, taking into account the patient’s activity level and lifestyle. These surgical options could include:

  • Core decompression
  • Joint-resurfacing procedures
  • Vascularized bone flaps
  • Custom titanium cage implantation
  • Stem cell grafting
  • Joint replacement
  • Joint fusion
  • Allograft transplant

Extremity-replantation program

Re-attaching an amputated body part is a complex process that can take anywhere from four to 12 hours. Our plastic surgeons are experts at managing the damaged nerves, vessels and muscles that must be addressed to assure a positive outcome for each patient.

This program provides patients with:

  • A team of plastic surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, and vascular surgeons for extensive upper extremity trauma
  • A referral system coordinating patient transport to Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center
  • Replant surgeons providing a phone consultation to the referring physician and patient for management decisions prior to transport to P/SL
  • Access to a certified hand therapist for immediate post-operative care

Osseointegration provides amputees with increased quality of life

Osseointegration, also known as direct skeletal fixation, is a dramatic and critical advancement for individuals who struggle with their above knee prosthesis fit and function. This approach allows for a metal fixation device to be integrated into an individual's residual femur and be connected directly to a prosthesis through an aperture in the skin. This provides a direct connection between the patient's skeleton and their prosthesis, which improves prosthesis control, eliminates socket issues and allows for direct feedback from the ground. Renowned orthopedic oncologist, Daniel Lerman, MD and prominent plastic surgeon, David Schnur, MD lead a multidisciplinary team at Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center's amputation program, providing many amputees a critical advancement and quality of life improvement.

Pelvic stabilization

Patients who are suffering from pelvic deterioration due to bone cancer and/or radiation therapy can find strength and comfort in the novel surgical technique, pelvic stabilization. Percutaneous pelvic stabilization is a revolutionary surgery option that offers a better quality of life to patients who have lost mobility and endure pain due to diseased or irradiated bone. Interventional radiologists and orthopedic surgeons at the Institute for Limb Preservation in Denver use a minimally invasive approach to treat bone cancer near the pelvic region. Often in combination with radiation therapy, your surgeon will mechanically stabilize these areas of diseased, irradiated bone, providing pain relief and improved function for people who traditionally had few palliative options.

While undergoing treatment for pelvic deterioration, your treatment plan may include:

  • Tumor ablation
  • Orthopedic screw stabilization
  • Bone cement augmentation to areas of osteolysis (bone degeneration)

For more information and to find out if you might be a good candidate for pelvic stabilization, please contact the Institute for Limb Preservation at (800) 262-LIMB (5462).

Patient resources

Patients at our hospital’s Institute for Limb Preservation are provided with medical care and support throughout the duration of their treatment. Upon discharge from the hospital, limb preservation patients at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center will meet with their care team to discuss monitoring their health at home and review resources available, including the Limb Preservation Foundation, the Amputee Coalition and Friends of Man, to aid in their recovery and return to daily routine.

Mission Statement

To foster a patient-centered, team-based, innovative approach to the diagnoses and treatment of complex limb and life-threatening conditions.