Treatments for Clogged Arteries
Over time, calcium and plaque (fat) can build up in your arteries, slowing blood flow to your limbs and major organs. Treatment can reduce pain and prevent serious injuries, like a stroke. AnMed vascular surgeons are skilled in several approaches to opening up narrowed arteries and restoring your health.
Angioplasty & Stenting
To perform angioplasty, a vascular surgeon inserts a tiny balloon into a blood vessel and guides it up to the site of a blockage. There, the balloon inflates, widening the artery. The surgeon then places a tiny tube called a stent in the blood vessel to keep it open.
Angioplasty and stenting can treat arteries that supply blood and oxygen to your legs, kidneys, brain and other parts of the body. This treatment uses only a tiny incision, so it’s less invasive than surgery and leads to a quicker recovery.
Atherectomy is a minimally invasive treatment that uses a tiny blade to cut through plaque. A vascular surgeon inserts the tool through a large artery in your upper thigh and guides it to the site of the blockage. After breaking up the clog, the surgeon may place a stent (tiny tube) to keep the artery open.
This procedure doesn’t require a large incision, and you can usually return to your activities within a few days.
Peripheral Artery Bypass Surgery
If arteries in your legs are clogged, but you’re not a candidate for atherectomy or angioplasty, a vascular surgeon may recommend bypass surgery. This procedure starts by taking a healthy blood vessel from another part of your body. Then, the surgeon uses the healthy vessel to create a new path for blood to flow around the narrowed arteries. After you recover, you may experience less leg pain and fewer other symptoms of peripheral artery disease (PAD).
Endarterectomy surgically removes plaque from your peripheral (leg) arteries or your carotid (neck) arteries, which send blood to your brain. A vascular surgeon makes an incision over the blocked vessel and clears out built-up fat with a special tool. After a few weeks, you should be able to return to your usual daily activities.
An aneurysm is a weak, bulging area in an artery. If it bursts, it causes internal bleeding—a medical emergency. To prevent a rupture, a vascular surgeon may perform:
- Endovascular aneurysm repair – Requires only a tiny incision to place a miniature tube called a stent at the weak area and reinforce the blood vessel
- Open aneurysm repair – Uses a larger incision to replace the aneurysm with a graft, an artificial piece of an artery