What is a Stent?
A stent is a small mesh tube made out of metal designed to expand a narrowed or blocked artery that will not stay open on its own. Stents are often used in conjunction with a balloon angioplasty to treat peripheral artery disease. An angioplasty stent may be permanently placed within the blocked artery to hold it open and improve blood flow. Some stents may be coated with medication or drug-eluting properties to help prevent blood clotting, formation of scar tissue, and future blockages.
Benefits of Stent Placement
Stent placements for peripheral artery disease offer many advantages over traditional surgery. Placing stents in the blocked arteries of the legs can help alleviate common PAD symptoms like pain, cramping, and fatigue. Treating blocked arteries with stenting also offers the following benefits:
- Effectively restores blood flow to the legs
- Faster recovery than surgery
- Less invasive than surgery
- No hospital stay required
- Lower cost than a surgical procedure
- Return to regular activities fairly quickly
Candidates for Stent Placement
If you have a blocked artery in your legs, you may need an angioplasty with stenting to keep your blood flowing to prevent serious health problems caused by PAD. Your vascular specialist may recommend stenting if you are experiencing the following symptoms:
- Chronic leg pain or rest pain
- Discoloration on legs and feet
- Feelings of numbness or weakness in the legs
- Muscle cramping and calf pain
- Leg or foot wounds that will not heal
- Moderate to severe narrowing or blockage in arteries
How to Prepare for a Stent Placement
Before your angioplasty and stent placement, one of our affiliated vascular specialists or medical professionals will explain to you what happens before, during, and after your procedure. Preparation for stenting may also involve the following:
- Review of family history and past medical history
- Discussing allergies to medication or contrast dye
- Image tests (CT, MRI, or ultrasound) to detect blocked arteries
- Reduce or stop medications that may increase your risk of bleeding
- Stop drinking or eating 6 hours before your procedure
- Arrange for someone to drive you home
How is a Stent Procedure Performed
Our affiliated vascular specialists are experts in performing minimally invasive stent angioplasty procedures. Before the procedure, you’ll receive local anesthesia and mild sedation to help you remain calm and comfortable throughout the treatment. Your specialist will then make a small incision in the groin and use contrast dye to guide a balloon-tipped catheter into the affected artery.
After the balloon is inflated and compresses the plaque against the artery walls, another tiny catheter with a stent mounted on it will be advanced to the blockage. Once the stent is inside the blockage and properly placed, it will be deployed into the artery. After, additional X-ray pictures are taken to determine if the stent is fully open and how much blood flow has improved. When your specialist is satisfied that the stent is fully open and adequate blood flow is restored, the balloon is deflated and removed with the catheter.
What to Expect After Stent Placement
After you return home, your vascular specialist will give you post-op instructions. Your specialist may recommend that you not lift more than 10 pounds or perform strenuous activities for a few days, drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated and flush out the contrast dye, and avoid baths for the first couple of days of your recovery. Your physician may also prescribe you aspirin or other blood-thinning medications to help prevent blood clots and ask you to follow an easy exercise program, such as walking.
It’s important that you schedule a follow-up appointment with your specialist to check on the progress of your recovery to see how blood is flowing through your treated artery.. Your vascular specialist may recommend further lifestyle changes to help you maintain your results after your procedure. This may include choosing heart-healthy foods, maintaining a healthy weight, moderate exercise, quitting smoking, and managing stress.
Our Vascular Specialists
Our affiliated vascular specialists perform stent placements for patients with PAD in New York and New Jersey. Nationally recognized as innovators and leaders, our affiliated physicians are at the forefront of treatment for peripheral artery disease.
What Our Patients Are Saying
Recent Blogs & Videos
Learn more about vascular health, prevention, and care for Peripheral Artery Disease.