Angioplasty Stenting


Angioplasty and stenting are used when medications and lifestyle changes aren’t enough to restore proper circulation in your legs. The blood vessels can become narrowed by a build-up of plaque/and or blood clots. Angioplasty can help reopen arteries using a balloon catheter, and if needed, a tiny stent (mesh-metal tube) may also be inserted to ensure the narrowed area remains open.

Inside healthy arteries, the lining of blood vessels is smooth and allows oxygen-rich blood to flow throughout the body. However, the lining can become rough when damaged by factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, and diabetes (arthrosclerosis). This can result in plaque build-up, narrowing of the artery, and the potential for blood clots and the possibility of heart attack or stroke.

Surgery will be performed under monitored anesthesia care. Plus, heparin, a strong blood thinner is administered to prevent any clot formation. Before proceeding with either procedure, the locations and severity of the blockage will be determined with a specialized x-ray (arteriogram), using an injection of contrast fluid.

Angioplasty involves using a balloon catheter to widen the narrowed artery. A balloon catheter is a long, narrow tube with a balloon that can be inflated and deflated on the end. The balloon is inflated when the catheter reaches the blockage and compresses the plaque.

A stent provides artery walls with support to reduce the chances of the artery becoming narrowed in the same location (restenosis). Stents can be placed directly in an artery without or without angioplasty, and some are drug-eluting, slowly releasing medication over time to reduce the amount of scar tissue that forms inside the artery. The stent, a tiny wire mesh tube, is put permanently in place by threading it onto a balloon catheter. Once the balloon is inflated, the stent is expanded and secured to the artery wall. 

Along with its benefits, angioplasty and stenting can also pose the following risks and complications:

  • Allergic reaction to dye used in an arteriogram

  • Bleeding or clotting

  • Kidney damage or failure

  • Need for emergency bypass surgery

  • Tearing of the artery lining

In recovery, blood tests will be taken to ensure the heparin is no longer active and clotting has return to normal. Then once your condition is stable; you will be discharged. You should schedule someone to drive you home after recovery. Then follow these basic guidelines for a successful home recovery along with any other medical directions:

  • Avoid strenuous exercise and lifting objects more than 10 pounds for a week or as instructed

  • Do not drive until cleared by your physician

  • Do not take tub baths for a few days to allow your insertion site time to heal

  • Take all medications as directed

If you experience any problems at the incision site, including swelling, increasing pain, redness, or warmth; fever; changes in the color or temperature of your legs or feet; or the inability to urinate or discover blood in your urine, contact Vascular Tyler as soon as possible.


The Patient Experience

Dr. Robbins looked at my imaging and made an appointment that same day for me to come in. At Vascular Tyler, it’s just like a family environment every time I come in here. If I have to go the doctor’s (office), this is where I want to go.
L. Cunningham, Patient
We don’t want to spend a whole lot of time with rehabilitation or in some sort of medical facility, so it was great discovering that there’s only little or no downtime. It was a matter of hours instead of days or weeks.
B. Finch, Patient
I had excruciating pain and was told I needed a knee replacement. But Dr. Robbins said I just need vascular surgery. They gave me relief from my pain, and they’re kind and interested in you as a patient and a person. This is the place to come.
M. Finch, Patient

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