Angioplasty and Stent Placement
If you’ve been diagnosed with peripheral artery disease (PAD), your doctor or vascular specialist may recommend treatment. PAD treatment aims to alleviate symptoms, reduce the risks of heart attack, stroke, and limb amputation, and improve mobility and quality of life. Your personalized treatment plan may involve lifestyle modifications, medications, and special procedures when necessary.
Depending on disease severity, a type of treatment called angioplasty with stent placement may be recommended. Angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that opens up blocked or narrowed arteries so that blood, oxygen, and nutrients can better circulate throughout the body. Angioplasty with stent placement involves placing a permanent stent (small mesh tube) into the affected artery to keep it open.
The good news is that placing stents in legs can help alleviate common PAD symptoms like pain, cramping, and fatigue. Here’s what you should know about angioplasty with stent placement and additional ways to improve your vascular health.
What Is a Stent?
A stent is a small mesh tube designed to expand. It is usually made out of metal. To treat peripheral artery disease, an angioplasty stent can be permanently placed within the diseased artery to hold it open. Some stents are coated in medication to help prevent the formation of scar tissue and future blockages.
How Is a Stent Procedure Performed for PAD?
If your vascular specialist recommends an angioplasty stent to treat your peripheral artery disease, you may be interested in learning more about what to expect. Angioplasty with stent placement is an outpatient, non-surgical vascular treatment that typically involves less pain, less risk, lower cost, and a shorter recovery than surgical alternatives.
We want to assure you that our doctors specialize in vascular treatments and are experienced at performing this potentially life-saving procedure. At USA Vascular Centers, angioplasty stent placement takes approximately 30 to 45 minutes, followed by a brief recovery period. Most patients are in our treatment center for about two hours from start to finish. Afterward, they can fully recover in the comfort of their own home.
General anesthesia is not usually required for angioplasty. Instead, our patients are provided with local anesthesia and a light sedative so that they can remain calm and comfortable throughout treatment. Please rest assured that we will monitor your personal comfort and critical vitals the entire time.
Here’s how your stent procedure may go:
- To get started, an IV will be placed into one of your veins
- Through the IV, a local anesthesia and other medications can be administered
- Next, a small incision is made in the groin, leg, or arm
- Your doctor will use fluoroscopy (a special type of X-ray imaging) and contrast dye to guide a balloon-tipped catheter (thin, flexible tube) and stent into the affected artery
- The balloon will be positioned right at the blockage, then inflated
- The inflated balloon compresses the plaque against the artery walls, allowing blood to reach the lower extremities or affected region
- The balloon is also used to expand the stent
- After your stent is in place, the balloon is deflated and removed with the catheter
- Stitches are not required
- After a brief observation period, you can go home to begin your recovery
- Although rare, some patients may require an overnight stay
What to Expect After Peripheral Stent Placement
After your angioplasty with stent placement, you will probably feel drowsy due to medications and will need a ride home. While you may experience some bruising and soreness at the site where the catheter was inserted, this is only temporary.
When you get home, we suggest getting some rest and drinking extra fluids to flush out the contrast dye through urination. We also advise that you avoid lifting heavy objects or engaging in strenuous activity for one to two days.
After your angioplasty and stent placement, your vascular specialist may prescribe new medications to help promote better blood circulation and prevent blood clots or arterial spasms. It is important to take these medications exactly as prescribed.
Going forward, we also want you to understand the importance of healthy lifestyle choices in preventing future complications. Your vascular specialist can work with you to identify personalized areas of improvement, which may include:
- Quitting smoking
- Eating a healthier diet
- Exercising more often
- Losing excess weight
- Managing other underlying health conditions
- Taking medications exactly as prescribed
- Following up regularly with your vascular specialist
Schedule a Consultation With USA Vascular Today
At USA Vascular Centers, we believe that our patients come first. For some, angioplasty with stent placement may help reduce PAD symptoms, improve mobility, and reduce the risks of developing dangerous health conditions like heart attack, stroke, and limb amputation. When you are ready to learn more, we encourage you to schedule an initial consultation with one of our accomplished vascular specialists.
We offer dozens of vascular treatment centers across the country, along with convenient telemedicine options. All of our treatment centers are accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAACH), the leader in ambulatory health care accreditation.