Angioplasty and stenting are procedures used to treat PAD by opening narrowed or blocked arteries, restoring normal blood flow. These procedures are called endovascular ("inside the blood vessels") procedures because they are performed through a small cut in an artery, instead of a large incision as with surgical procedures.
During balloon angioplasty, a long, thin tube called a catheter is inserted into an artery (usually in the groin) and guided to the blocked artery. Once in place, a balloon is inflated, pushing the blockage against the artery wall and restoring blood flow. In some cases, a tiny wire mesh tube called a stent is left in place to prop the artery open.
Angioplasty and Stent Placement
A. Balloon carrying stent is moved into place in blocked artery.
B. Balloon is inflated, opening artery and expanding stent.
C. Balloon is removed, leaving stent in place to prop artery open.
This section deals with angioplasty and stenting for PAD in the legs. To learn about how these procedures are used in women with carotid (neck) artery disease to prevent a stroke, see Carotid Stenting. To learn about procedures to treat kidney artery disease, click here.