Peripheral stenting is a minimally invasive procedure used to open up blockages in a peripheral artery (arteries in the lower abdomen, kidneys, arms, legs or feet).
What is peripheral stenting?
Peripheral stenting is used to open up clogged arteries without performing open surgery. The procedure is done through a catheter, requiring only a small incision in the groin or arm. Using high-resolution fluoroscopic (X-ray) video and film equipment, a special catheter is inserted into the peripheral artery with a tiny balloon at its tip. The balloon is inflated once the catheter has been placed into the narrowed area. This compresses the fatty tissue in the artery and makes a larger opening for improved blood flow. A tiny, expandable metal coil called a stent may be inserted into the newly-opened area to help keep the artery from narrowing or closing again.
The interventional cardiologists at the PinnacleHealth Cardiovascular Institute perform this minimally invasive procedure in our state-of-the-art catheterization labs.
How to Prepare
Your doctor will explain the procedure to you and offer you the opportunity to ask any questions that you might have about the procedure.
- You will need to fast prior to the procedure. Your doctor will notify you how long to fast, usually overnight.
- Notify your doctor of all medications (prescription, over-the-counter or herbal supplements) you are taking; if you are pregnant or suspect that you may be pregnant; if you are allergic to or sensitive to medications, local anesthesia, latex or if you are allergic to or sensitive to contrast dye or iodine.
- Your doctor may request a blood test to determine how long it takes your blood to clot.
What to Expect
You will be positioned on the table, lying on your back, and under local anesthesia and a small incision will be made in your groin or arm to insert the catheter. The catheter will be advanced into the peripheral artery and once in place, dye will be injected through the catheter in order to see the narrowed area(s) and x-ray pictures will be taken.
Once the catheter is in place, a balloon will be inflated to push back the blockage and a stent is placed in the opened area.
When the procedure is completed you will be moved to recovery for observation and to address any issues you may have with pain. You should make arrangements to have a friend or family member drive you home and avoid heavy lifting or strenuous activities for a few days.
What are the risks?
There are a number of risks associated with peripheral stenting including:
- Blood clots in the leg
- Bleeding at the stent insertion site
- Damage to blood vessels and nerves
Although rare, stroke is also a potential risk.