A balloon stent or angioplasty begins with having a dye injected into your bloodstream using a small tube called a catheter. The dye allows the doctor to see the path of your veins on arteries on an X-ray monitor and identify the exact location any blockages. Depending on the location, a small device with a deflated balloon on the end will be inserted in the main artery in your arm or leg and threaded through your system until it reaches the blockage. Once the device is in place, it can be inflated and used to push and compact the plaque against the artery wall. This also works to open the artery and allow the blood to flow at a more natural rate. After the artery has been widened, the balloon will be deflated and removed from the body.
If the doctor determines that a stent will be necessary to help keep the artery open, a stent, which consists of a metal mesh, will act as a support or sort of internal scaffolding system. The majority of patients who undergo the balloon or angioplasty portion of the procedure will also end up receiving a stent.
What are the Benefits of a Balloon Stenting?
Most patients are happy to learn that a balloon stent can be inserted using only local anesthesia. This reduces the risks associated with general anesthesia and means that you will be able to return to your normal activities soon after the procedure. You won’t have to worry about undergoing extensive and invasive surgery and you can enjoy all the benefits that come with better functioning arteries.
What are the Risks of a Balloon Stenting?
Because there is no need for general anesthesia and balloon stenting is a common procedure that will be completed by an experienced doctor, there are relatively few risks involved with the procedure. There is a small chance that the insertion point will become infected or a tear will occur in the artery, but these are rare cases. It is also important to remember that a balloon stent may not be a permanent solution and there is a chance that the artery will become blocked again.
Who is a Good Candidate for Balloon Stenting?
Patients who are in good overall shape make the best candidates for balloon stenting. If you have already experienced heart attacks or you are dealing the complications from other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, your doctor may recommend a different course of action. The number and location of blockages will also affect whether or not you are a good candidate for your procedure.
While there is no cure for heart disease, you can take concrete steps towards improving your health and preventing further blockages. If you are interested in learning more about this procedure and deciding whether it is the right choice for you, feel free to reach out to our care team today.