“Endovascular” describes the type of procedure used to place a stent.
During this type of treatment, rather than using incisions to surgically access and treat a damaged artery, your provider treats the blood vessel from within by using a long, thin tube (catheter) inserted into the artery via a large bore needle puncture.
Surgical instruments used to clear plaque deposits and medical devices such as stents are then threaded through the catheter to the treatment site inside the artery.
A stent is a small tube-shaped device that’s typically made of biofriendly wire mesh. It’s sized to fit snuggly up against the inner walls of an artery. Vascular surgeons use stents to help strengthen arterial walls and maintain adequate blood flow through these vital vessels.
Stents are frequently used to treat peripheral artery disease (PAD), which is caused by fatty deposits (atherosclerosis) in the arteries that supply blood to areas outside your heart. PAD most commonly affects arteries in the legs but can occur in other areas.
Endovascular stenting is not performed as a stand-alone procedure. Rather, it’s combined with balloon angioplasty or other endovascular treatments that clear cholesterol plaques and widen arteries narrowed as a result of PAD.
Once positioned, the stent remains in place to help reinforce the artery walls and prevent future narrowing at the treatment site. This helps maintain adequate blood flow through the vessel and thus relieves symptoms such as cramping leg pain, decreased mobility, open skin ulcerations, and other complications of PAD.
Surgeons at Advanced Vascular & Vein Associates may also use stents to strengthen a weakened or bulging area in an artery, such as an abdominal aortic aneurysm that is at risk of leaking or rupturing.
Your Advanced Vascular & Vein Associates surgeon explains the procedure in detail before it’s scheduled so you know what to expect afterward.
Typically, however, you’re sedated but awake during an endovascular procedure for PAD. After inserting the catheter into the designated artery, while using advanced imaging technology for guidance, your surgeon threads the catheter through the vessel to the targeted site, clears the plaque, and places the stent.
You may experience some soreness at the puncture site for a few days afterward, but this is generally mild, and the procedure is usually very well tolerated.
Also, you get guidance regarding treatment to prevent further plaque buildup. Your plan may include medications to lower cholesterol as well as routine exercise, changes in diet, weight loss, and other healthy habits that decrease your risk of worsening PAD.
For more information about endovascular stenting and why it’s used, schedule a visit at Advanced Vascular & Vein Associates today. Call the office or request an appointment online.