An angiogram is imaging of an artery under x-ray fluoroscopy obtained by injecting a small amount of contrast and/or carbon dioxide into the artery. This is done by making a small nick in the skin at the access site, usually the groin. A thin catheter is then placed into the artery for imaging and potential treatment. This procedure is performed under conscious sedation, which will allow you to sleep during the procedure. The imaging obtained during an angiogram can be both diagnostic and/or for treatment. This imaging allows our Vascular Interventional Radiologists to see inside of an artery. They can then access potential obstructions. There are a variety of treatments that can be done during an angiogram. Most common treatments can include angioplasty, atherectomy, and stent placement.
An angioplasty is the opening of a stenosis using a specialized catheter with a balloon on the end. Once the catheter is placed in the narrowed artery, the balloon is inflated to widen the artery and restore proper blood flow. The size and length of the balloon is carefully selected by the Vascular Interventional Radiologist. Imaging expertise allows for proper balloon placement, selection, and inflation. The balloon catheter is removed after successful treatment.
An atherectomy is the opening of a stenosis involving the removal of plaque build up like a roto rooter from an affected artery. This allows blood to more easily flow through the arteries to the leg. This is accomplished with the use of a laser or small rotating blade device attached to the end of a catheter.
The atherectomy device will destroy the plaque, widening the artery and allowing blood to flow freely. The atherectomy catheter is then removed after successful treatment.
A stent is a metal mesh tube that is inserted permanently into an artery to help keep the vessel open. Sometimes after angioplasty or atherectomy, the blood vessel does not stay open adequately. In this case, a stent is placed using the imaging from an angiogram and is placed to keep the artery open. The stent ensures consistent blood flow after the procedure is complete. The placement of a stent is very precise.
Each of these treatments is best suited for patients who are symptomatic and don’t wish to undergo major open surgery in the hospital. With interventional radiology, these treatments can safely treat PAD and eliminate the need for a peripheral artery bypass surgery.
Because these interventional treatments are minimally-invasive, they don’t carry the same risk of complications and infection that major surgery does. They are also same-day procedures in a safe outpatient setting, meaning that once the procedures are complete, you will be able to recover in the comfort of your own home.
These treatments do not require the use of general anesthesia. Patients are sedated with IV medication for their comfort, but remain conscious but sleepy throughout the duration. Because no large incisions are made, these treatments are also free of the large incisions associated with surgery.
Now that you know your options, there is one more decision to make. When choosing the facility that will conduct your PAD treatment, you will want to choose a staff that specialize in vascular interventional treatments, and use the latest in state-of-the-art technology.
The main risk with any blood vessel procedure is bleeding from the site of access. To decrease this risk, the interventional radiologist will often use a closure device in conjunction with firm pressure on the groin access site at the conclusion of the procedure. Unintended blood vessel is also possible. Sometimes, the disease is so extensive or complicated that surgery may be necessary. If this is the case, the images obtained by the interventional radiologist will assist a vascular surgeon in operative planning.
If you want effective medical professionals who achieve positive results, you will want to choose Peripheral Vascular Partners.
At Peripheral Vascular Partners, we understand the pain involved with PAD. We make it our mission to not only relieve you of these symptoms, but do so with the utmost care and compassion. Our interventional radiologists have highly specialized training in vascular treatments, and treat each procedure with the same high level of focus and precision.
Major surgery is not your only option. If you don’t wish to have a peripheral artery bypass, minimally-invasive PAD treatments can offer you a solution that doesn’t involve the risk and discomfort of invasive procedures. We understand this can be a difficult time, and we want to answer any questions you may have. Simply schedule a consultation today!