What is Angioplasty?
Angioplasty is a minimally invasive treatment for peripheral artery disease. It uses a low-profile catheter with an inflatable balloon to open and widen narrow or blocked arteries that supply blood to your legs. The balloon presses against the inside wall of the artery to stretch the affected artery open and improve blood flow. At American Endovascular, our affiliated physicians use this minimally invasive-image guided procedure for tight spots in arteries where plaque makes the space inside an artery blocked or narrow.
Benefits of Angioplasty Procedure
Angioplasty procedures for peripheral artery disease open narrowed or blocked arteries in your legs without the need for more invasive surgery. This treatment allows blood to flow more freely through an artery, giving the legs and feet a better blood supply. Unlike traditional surgery, an angioplasty also offers the following benefits:
- Fewer risks and complications
- Less invasive with no scarring
- Lower cost than a surgical procedure
- No hospital stay required
- Faster recovery time
- Minimal pain or discomfort during and after the procedure
Candidates for Angioplasty
Angioplasty treats atherosclerosis, which is a collection of plaque made of fat and cholesterol, affecting the arteries in the legs and other parts of the body. Your vascular specialist may recommend an angioplasty if you have peripheral artery disease (PAD) and are experiencing the following symptoms:
- Chronic leg pain and rest pain
- Cramping in your calf muscles
- Changes in the color of your legs
- Leg numbness, tingling, or weakness
- Limitations to your daily activities
- Pain or burning in the calves or feet without activity
- Wounds or legs on your foot or toes that won’t heal
How to Prepare for Angioplasty Procedure
Before your angioplasty procedure, one of our affiliated vascular specialists and medical staff will explain to you what happens before, during, and after your treatment. Preparation for angioplasty may also involve the following:
- Review of family and medical history
- Make a list of all current medications and supplements that you take
- Tell your doctor about any known allergies to medications or contrast dye
- Avoid taking blood-thinning medications before treatment
- Stop drinking or eating 6 hours before your procedure
- Arrange for someone to drive you home
How is a Balloon Angioplasty Performed
Our affiliated vascular specialists are experts in performing minimally invasive angioplasty procedures. Before the procedure, you’ll receive local anesthesia and mild sedation to help you relax and feel comfortable. Your specialist will then guide a thin, flexible tube called a catheter into your groin. Using X-ray guidance, your doctor will advance a thin wire through the catheter into the artery to penetrate the blockage. A tiny deflated balloon is advanced to the blockage along the wire already in place.
Once inside the blockage, the balloon is inflated with contrast fluid, squeezing the plaque against the wall of the artery – widening the artery open to allow for better blood flow. In some cases, a stent may also be placed in the blocked area to keep the artery open. It’s possible for patients to feel some mild discomfort when the balloon is inflated because the artery is being stretched, but this lasts for a few moments and the discomfort disappears as the balloon is deflated.
What to Expect After Angioplasty
After your angioplasty procedure, your vascular specialist will give you detailed instructions to follow at home and may prescribe you blood-thinning medications if you also had a stent placement. It’s important that you do not exert yourself for 48 hours after your angioplasty and do not perform any strenuous exercises. Your specialist may also recommend that you avoid showering for 24 to 48 hours, take your medicine as prescribed to prevent blood clots, and drink plenty of fluids to help your body flush out the dye.
It’s very important that you also schedule a follow-up appointment with your specialist to check on the progress of your recovery. As a result of your angioplasty, you should have less pain in your legs and a greater ability to walk and exercise. The best way to maintain your results is to adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle and make healthier choices, such as exercising regularly and eating a healthier diet filled with fruits and vegetables.
Our Vascular Specialists
Our affiliated vascular specialists perform angioplasty procedures for patients in New York and New Jersey. They offer the highest level of care to prevent PAD from progressing to save the limbs and lives of their patients.
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