Peripheral arterial angioplasty and stenting is a surgical procedure employed to widen the narrowed arteries in patients with peripheral arterial disease. Peripheral arterial disease is a condition characterized by the narrowing of the peripheral arteries supplying blood to the neck, arms, legs, lower abdomen and kidneys. Peripheral arterial disease is often caused by accumulation of fatty deposits (plaques) in the arterial walls, reducing blood flow through them.
Peripheral angioplasty with stenting is a minimally invasive procedure performed to improve blood flow through the blocked peripheral arteries. The procedure is often performed in the cardiac catheterization laboratory with the patient under local anaesthesia.
In peripheral angioplasty, a catheter (a small hallow tube) is inserted through a small incision over an artery in the groin. The catheter is guided to the blocked or narrowed section of the artery, under the fluoroscopic (X-ray) guidance. Once in place, a small balloon at the end of the catheter is inflated, pushing the plaque against the arterial walls and widening the vessel and improving blood flow. The balloon is then deflated and removed from the blood vessel.
Peripheral angioplasty is often combined with the placement of a stent, a small tubular mesh, inside the artery. The stent maintains the patency of the artery and prevents it from future narrowing. Some stents are drug-eluting, meaning they contain a medication that is actively released in to the artery, to reduce the risk of re-narrowing.