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Peripheral Angioplasty

Peripheral angioplasty is a procedure that helps open blockages in peripheral arteries. These vessels carry blood to your lower body, legs, and arms.

Talk with your health care provider about the risks and complications of angioplasty.

Before the procedure

  • Tell your health care provider about all medicines you take and any allergies you may have.

  • Follow any directions you’re given for not eating or drinking before the procedure.

  • Arrange for a family member or friend to drive you home.

During the procedure

Balloon catheter inserted into artery, balloon inflated, and blood flow restored.

  • You may get medicine through an IV (intravenous) line to relax you. An injection will numb the site. Then the doctor makes a tiny skin cut (incision) near an artery in your groin.

  • Your doctor puts a thin tube (catheter) through the incision. He or she then threads the catheter into an artery while looking at a video monitor.

  • Contrast “dye” is injected into the catheter. X-rays (angiography) are taken.

  • A tiny balloon is pushed through the catheter to the blockage. Your doctor inflates and deflates the balloon a few times. This compresses the plaque. A small metal or mesh tube (stent) may be put in the artery to help keep it open. The balloon and catheter are then taken out.

After the procedure

You’ll be taken to a recovery area. Pressure is put on the insertion site for about 15 minutes. Your doctor or nurse will tell you how long to lie down and keep the insertion site still. You will go home that day or spend the night in the facility. You will be told what to do when you go home.

Call your doctor

Call your health care provider right away if:

  • You notice a lump or bleeding at the site where the catheter was inserted

  • You feel pain at the insertion site

  • You become lightheaded or dizzy

  • You have leg pain or numbness

Online Medical Reviewer: Image reviewed by StayWell medical illustration team.
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Online Medical Reviewer: Pierce-Smith, Daphne, RN, MSN, CCRC
Online Medical Reviewer: Turley, Ray, BSN, MSN
Date Last Reviewed: 3/20/2014
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