What are angioplasty and vascular stenting?
With the use of guided imaging, angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure in which your doctor inserts a tiny balloon-tipped catheter into a blocked blood vessel. When the balloon is inflated, the blood vessel opens and improves blood flow.
Vascular stenting refers to placing a small wire mesh tube within the blood vessel that is receiving the angioplasty treatment. The stent helps keep the blood vessel open or prevents it from narrowing.
Angioplasty is sometimes done as a stand-alone procedure, or together with vascular stenting. Typically, an interventional radiologist performs angioplasty and vascular stenting during an in-office procedure.
What is PAD?
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a condition in which the arteries in your legs, stomach, arms, or head begin to narrow. PAD is most common in leg arteries and caused by atherosclerosis, a disease involving plaque buildup inside the arteries that causes them to narrow. Common symptoms of PAD of the lower extremities include:
- Cramping and pain in legs or hips
- Legs feeling tired whenever you’re walking
- Difficulty climbing stairs
- Pain that goes away after resting your legs
Men and women who smoke have a high risk for PAD, as do those with diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Adults with PAD are good candidates for angioplasty and stenting to open the arteries in their legs. For those with symptoms of peripheral artery disease, angioplasty by itself or combined with stenting can open up blocked arteries in your legs, pelvis, or arms.
What happens during an angioplasty/stenting procedure?
The experienced team of interventional radiologists at Excel Medical Imaging use guided imaging to perform angioplasty and stenting procedures. Angioplasty and stenting for PAD can often be done as an outpatient procedure.
Using a guided X-ray (fluoroscopy), your radiologist inserts a catheter through your skin and maneuvers it into your artery so it can reach the blockage.
Once the balloon-tipped catheter is in place, the balloon is inflated to open the artery. If your radiologist is also placing a stent, it is then inserted to keep the artery from narrowing. The balloon can be removed and the stent stays in your artery permanently.
At the end of the procedure, your radiologist removes the catheter and you don’t require stitches.
If you’d like to learn more about angioplasty/stents for PAD, call or schedule an appointment with the board-certified interventional radiologists at Excel Medical Imaging.