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Peripheral Arterial Angioplasty

Peripheral Arterial Angioplasty

Procedure Overview

Peripheral artery angioplasty is a procedure to treat peripheral arterial disease of the legs. The procedure widens narrowed arteries in the pelvis or legs. It can help blood flow better. This may decrease leg pain or help wounds heal better.

Your arteries can get narrowed by a substance called plaque. Plaque is a buildup of fats in your arteries.

You will be awake for the procedure. You will get medicine to prevent pain and help you relax. First, your doctor will do a test to find narrowed arteries. He or she will put a tiny tube into an artery in your groin or leg. This tube is called a catheter. The doctor moves the catheter through the artery and puts a dye into it. The dye makes your arteries show up on X-ray pictures. This lets the doctor see any narrowed parts of the arteries.

If your doctor finds a narrowed artery, he or she may do an angioplasty. To do this, the doctor uses a catheter with a balloon at the tip. It goes into the artery in your groin or leg. He or she moves the balloon to the narrowed area and inflates it. The balloon presses the plaque against the walls of the artery. This makes more room for blood to flow. The doctor may also put a stent in your artery. A stent is a small tube that helps keep the artery open. It can also keep small pieces of plaque from breaking off and causing problems.

You may need to spend the night in the hospital. For 1 or 2 days after the procedure, you will need to take it easy at home.

How It Is Done

Angioplasty is used to open narrowed arteries and increase oxygen-rich blood flow to muscle and tissue. These images show angioplasty for the iliac artery. Angioplasty can also be done for the femoral, popliteal, and tibial arteries.