Peripheral angioplasty is a nonsurgical procedure used to widen or reopen narrowed or obstructed peripheral arteries or veins. Some of these angioplasty procedures will utilize stent (a small, wire mesh tube) placement as a supplemental treatment option that can be done during angioplasty.
Benefits of angioplasty and stenting
Peripheral angioplasty and stenting are procedures that can significantly reduce the risks associated with plaque buildup in the arteries and veins, especially in severe cases of atherosclerosis. These benefits can include:
- Decreasing signs and symptoms of blocked arteries and veins
- Significantly reducing chances of death or damage to the valves as the result of emergency situations like stroke or kidney failure
- Treating diseases, like atherosclerosis (slow buildup of fatty plaques in the blood vessels) when medications and lifestyle changes a don’t help
The first steps
The first step during an angioplasty procedure is an angiography. After a medication for relaxation is administered, a catheter is inserted with local anesthesia. A sheath is then inserted into an artery and the catheter is passed through into the damaged blood vessels and arteries.
A material is injected through the catheter that will show our physicians what arteries are damaged or clogged and if the valves are functioning correctly. Using fluoroscopy, which is real-time X-ray imaging, the valves, arteries and vessels are examined to determine whether or not an angioplasty is required. If no blockage is found, no procedure is necessary.
If it is in your best interest to have an angioplasty, the catheter is moved into the artery or vein with the blockage and depending on your case, one of the following interventional procedures will be performed:
- Balloon angioplasty – A catheter with a balloon tip is moved into the narrowing artery and inflated to compress plaque buildup against the artery wall. This will stretch the artery to enlarge the vessel and increase blood flow.
- Stent – A stent is a small metal mesh tube that provides support within the artery and props it open. Inserted using a balloon catheter, the stent then expands to the size of the inflated balloon. The balloon catheter is then removed, leaving the stent in place to hold open the artery for increase blood flow.
- Cutting balloon – Much like a balloon angioplasty, a cutting balloon catheter is a special balloon tip equipped with small blades used to score the plaque. The balloon then expands and compresses the plaque against the artery wall.
For more information about peripheral angioplasty and stenting, call the vascular specialists at Baton Rouge Vascular Specialty Center today at (225) 769-4493 to schedule your next appointment.