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Angioplasty is a procedure offered at Deborah Specialty Physicians that opens narrowed or blocked blood vessels responsible for moving blood throughout the body. Fatty deposits can build up inside the arteries and block blood flow. To restore blood flow, a stent – a small, metal mesh tube that keeps the artery open – is placed.

How does it work?

Angioplasty uses a medical “balloon” to widen blocked arteries. The balloon presses against the inside wall of the artery to open the space and improve blood flow. A metal stent is often placed across the artery wall to keep the artery from narrowing again.

To treat a blockage in the leg, angioplasty can be done in the following:

  • Aorta, the main artery that comes from the heart
  • Artery in hip or pelvis
  • Artery in thigh
  • Artery behind knee
  • Artery in lower leg

Symptoms of a blocked peripheral artery are pain, aching, or heaviness in the leg that starts or gets worse when walking.

Am I a good candidate for treatment?

Before having angioplasty, the physicians at Deborah Specialty Physicians will perform tests to see the extent of the blockage in your blood vessels. Patients may be candidates for angioplasty if they:

  • Have symptoms that keep them from doing daily tasks, or symptoms do not get better with other medical treatment
  • Have skin ulcers or wounds on the leg that do not get better
  • Have an infection or gangrene on the leg
  • Have pain in your leg caused by narrowed arteries, even when resting

What can I expect after treatment?

Angioplasty improves artery blood flow for most people. Results will vary, depending on where the blockage was, the size of the blood vessel, and how much blockage there is in other arteries. If the procedure is not effective, the patient may still require open bypass surgery or even amputation.