Angioplasty is a procedure to open narrowed or blocked blood vessels that supply blood to your legs. Fatty deposits can build up inside the arteries and block blood flow.
A stent is a small, metal mesh tube that keeps the artery open.
Angioplasty and stent placement are two ways to open blocked peripheral arteries.
Percutaneous transluminal angioplasty - peripheral artery; PTA - peripheral artery; Angioplasty - peripheral arteries; Iliac artery -angioplasty; Femoral artery - angioplasty; Popliteal artery - angioplasty; Tibial artery - angioplasty; Peroneal artery - angioplasty; Peripheral vascular disease - angioplasty; PVD - angioplasty; PAD - angioplasty
Angioplasty uses a medical "balloon" to widen blocked arteries. The balloon presses against the inside wall of the artery to open the space and improve blood flow. A metal stent is often placed across the artery wall to keep the artery from narrowing again.
To treat a blockage in your leg, angioplasty can be done in the following:
- Aorta -- the main artery that comes from your heart
- Artery in your hip or pelvis
- Artery in your thigh
- Artery behind your knee
- Artery in your lower leg
Before the procedure:
- You will be given medicine to help you relax. You will be awake, but sleepy.
- You may also be given blood-thinning medicine to keep a blood clot from forming.
- You will lie down on your back on a padded operating table. Your surgeon will inject some numbing medicine into the area that will be treated, so that you do not feel pain. This is called local anesthesia.
Your surgeon will then place a tiny needle into the blood vessel in your groin. A tiny flexible wire will be inserted through this needle.
- Your surgeon will be able to see your artery with live x-ray pictures. Dye will be injected into your body to show blood flow through your arteries. The dye will make it easier to see the blocked area.
- Your surgeon will guide a thin tube called a catheter through your artery to the blocked area.
- Next, your surgeon will pass a guide wire through the catheter to the blockage.
- The surgeon will push another catheter with a very small balloon on the end over the guide wire and into the blocked area.
- The balloon is then filled with contrast fluid to inflate the balloon. This opens the blocked vessel and restores blood flow to your heart.
A stent may also be placed in the blocked area. The stent is inserted at the same time as the balloon catheter. It expands when the balloon is blown up. The stent is left in place to help keep the artery open. The balloon and all the wires are then removed.