Angioplasty/Vascular Stenting

Procedure Locations

What is Angioplasty/Vascular Stenting?

What Is Angioplasty?

Angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a special X-ray (Fluoroscopy) to guide a balloon-tipped catheter (narrow tube) into an artery and open up a narrowed or blocked blood vessel by inflating the balloon. Many times a small wire mesh, called a stent, is positioned in the newly opened artery to prevent it from narrowing or closing again. 

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Why would my physician recommend Angioplasty?

Your physician may recommend angioplasty if you have been diagnosed with peripheral artery disease (PAD), renal vascular hypertension, carotid artery stenosis or any narrowing or blockage of arteries. Angioplasty is performed to improve blood flow to the narrowed or blocked arteries.

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How does Angioplasty work?

Angioplasty improves blood flow in the body's arteries by opening any narrowed or blocked arteries using a balloon-tipped catheter. In some cases, a small wire mesh stent is also placed in the vessel during the procedure to prevent it from closing. This is called Vascular Stenting.

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What do I need to do before my procedure?

You will be given detailed instructions by our staff before your procedure. In general, do not eat, drink or smoke anything after midnight the night before your procedure. This includes breath mints, gum and tobacco. Patients should notify staff if they are diabetic, taking anticoagulants (blood thinners) or allergic to anesthesia. Be sure to bring your insurance card, photo ID, list of current medications (dose and frequency) and any diagnostic testing results.

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What should I expect during an Angioplasty procedure?

Prior to the procedure, you will receive specific instructions on how to prepare and what medications, if any, you should avoid. During the exam, you will lie on a table. You will be connected to monitors that will track your vitals during the procedure. You will be given a mild sedative or anesthesia. A contrast agent will be used to provide a clear picture of the blood vessels being treated. The area where the incision will be made will be sterilized and numbed. A small incision will be made at the site (usually the groin region) and a sheath is inserted into the artery or vein. A balloon-tipped catheter (thin tube) is then inserted through the sheath and guided to the site of the partial or complete blockage using an X-ray. Once the catheter reaches the proper site, the balloon is inflated to open up the vessel. Once sufficient blood flow has been attained at the site, the balloon will be deflated and the catheter removed. If a stent (small mesh tube) is needed to keep the vessel opened, it will be inserted while the balloon is inflated and it will stay in place once the balloon is deflated and removed. Once the catheter is removed, pressure will be applied to the area and a bandage will be placed over the incision site.

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What will I feel during the Angioplasty procedure?

You will feel a slight sting when the needles are inserted for the IV line and the anesthesia. If you receive sedation, you will feel relaxed and sleepy and may or may not be partially awake during the procedure. You may feel some pressure when the catheter is inserted, but no serious pain.

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What should I expect after an Angioplasty procedure?

After the procedure, you will be transferred to a recovery room where you will be asked to keep your legs straight and still for several hours. Devices to monitor your vitals will be attached to your body. The site where the catheter was inserted may be bruised and slightly sore. This site will be checked while you are in recovery for bleeding or swelling. You will be given complete instructions upon discharge.

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How do I schedule an Angioplasty procedure with Fairfax Vascular Center?

Before scheduling an appointment, you will need to get a referral from your physician. Once you have a referral, you can schedule an appointment by calling 703.698.4475 Monday through Friday 7am to 5pm.

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When are appointments offered for Angioplasty procedures?

Appointments are available at Fairfax Vascular Center Monday through Friday, 7am to 5pm. Learn more about this location.

Related Resources

Patient Resources

Vascular Center Patient Guide

This brochure prepares you for your first visit where your Interventional Radiologist will talk about how to prepare for your procedure, what to expect on the day of and days following the procedure, and answer any questions you may have.

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