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Peripheral Angioplasty

Talk to your doctor about the risks and complications of angioplasty.

Peripheral angioplasty is a procedure that helps open blockages in peripheral arteries. These vessels carry blood to your lower body and legs.

Before the Procedure

  • Tell your doctor about all medications you take and any allergies you may have.

  • Don’t eat or drink after midnight the night before the procedure.

  • Arrange for a family member or friend to drive you home.

During the Procedure

  • You may get medication through an IV (intravenous) line to relax you. After an injection numbs the site, a tiny skin incision is made near an artery in your groin.

  • Your doctor inserts a catheter (thin tube) through the incision (insertion site), then threads it into an artery while viewing a video monitor.

  • Contrast “dye” is injected into the catheter. X-rays are taken (angiography).

  • A tiny balloon is pushed through the catheter to the blockage. Your doctor inflates and deflates the balloon a few times to compress the plaque. A stent (small metal or mesh tube) may be placed to help keep your artery open. The balloon and catheter are then removed.

After the Procedure

You’ll be taken to a recovery area. Pressure is applied to the insertion site for about 15 minutes. Your doctor or nurse will tell you how long to lie down and keep the insertion site still. You will go home that day or spend the night in the facility. You will be instructed what to do when you go home.

Call Your Doctor If:

  • You notice a lump or bleeding at the site where the catheter was inserted.

  • You feel pain at the insertion site.

  • You become lightheaded or dizzy.

  • You have leg pain or numbness.

Catheter in artery
A balloon is inserted

Catheter in artery
The balloon is inflated

Catheter in artery
Blood flow is improved

Online Medical Reviewer: Fitzgerald, Karen R, NP
Online Medical Reviewer: Toursarkissian, Boulos, MD
Last Review Date: 12/20/2011
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