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Angioplasty for Peripheral Arterial Disease of the Legs


Iliac artery is narrowed by plaque

Picture of peripheral arterial disease

Angioplasty is used to open narrowed arteries and increase oxygen-rich blood flow to muscle and tissue.

Catheter is inserted

Picture of angioplasty for peripheral arterial disease, step 1

After you are sedated, the surgeon inserts a thin, flexible tube called a catheter through a femoral artery in the thigh and carefully guides it to the narrowed part of the iliac artery.

Balloon is inflated, stent is expanded

Picture of angioplasty for peripheral arterial disease, step 2

The surgeon guides the catheter to the narrowed part of the artery and inflates a small balloon at the end of a tube. The balloon may remain inflated for a short time. The pressure from the inflated balloon causes the mesh stent to expand and press the plaque against the wall of the artery, creating more room for blood to flow.

Balloon is removed, stent is in place

Picture of angioplasty for peripheral arterial disease, step 3

Next, the surgeon deflates the balloon and removes it, leaving the expanded stent in place to keep the walls of the artery open.

Before and after surgery

Picture of angioplasty for peripheral arterial disease, before and after

Angioplasty reopens the blocked iliac artery, increasing the flow of oxygen-rich and nutrient-rich blood to the leg.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerRakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Specialist Medical ReviewerDavid A. Szalay, MD - Vascular Surgery
Last RevisedOctober 14, 2011

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