What is angioplasty or stent placement?
Performed at one of our area hospitals, angioplasty and stent placement are medical procedures that open up blocked or narrowed blood vessels without surgery. During the procedure the Vascular and Interventional Radiologist inserts a very small balloon or stent attached to a thin tube (a catheter) into a blood vessel through a very small incision in the skin, about the size of a pencil tip. The catheter is threaded under X-ray guidance to the site of the blocked artery. When the balloon or stent is in the area of blockage, it is expanded to open the artery, improving blood flow through the area.
These procedures are generally less traumatic for the patient than surgery because it involves smaller incisions, less pain and shorter recovery time.
Why do I need an angioplasty or stent?
The most common reason for angioplasty or stenting is to relieve a blockage of an artery caused by atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Atherosclerosis is a gradual process in which cholesterol and scar tissue build up inside the artery, forming a substance called “plaque” that clogs the artery.
Some blockages are best treated with surgery, while others are best treated with angioplasty or stenting. The Vascular and Interventional Radiologist at California Imaging Institute will talk with you about which procedure-angioplasty or stent-is best for you.
What happens after my angioplasty or stent placement?
If you are returning home on the day of your angiogram, you will remain in the recovery area for four to six hours after the procedure is completed. After this observation period you will be allowed to go home and will be provided with discharge instructions. To ensure your safety, have someone drive you home after your procedure.