Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a common, but serious, health condition that occurs when arteries to the limbs become blocked or narrowed, leading to reduced blood flow. PAD can lead to discomfort, pain, mobility problems, wound-healing problems and even amputation. Fortunately, PAD can be managed and treated with expert care provided at Beach Wellness MD.
What is Balloon Angioplasty for PAD?
Balloon angioplasty for PAD is a procedure that opens narrowed or blocked peripheral arteries. The goal of the procedure is to restore proper blood flow to the limbs by widening a blocked or narrowed artery. It is often used in combination with other PAD treatments. It can provide relief to claudication, which is a PAD symptom that causes cramping, aches, and fatigue in the legs, feet, and buttocks.
Your doctor may look at a number of factors when deciding to recommend balloon angioplasty, including considering the size of the blood vessel that is affected by a blockage, as well as the extent that it is affected. In general, balloon angioplasty may have the best potential in helping to widen larger arteries, those without extensive blockages, or arteries that are not completely blocked, but where blood flow has been reduced because of narrowing.
How is Balloon Angioplasty performed?
Balloon angioplasty procedures take approximately one hour. You won’t have to be under general anesthesia for the procedure, but you will receive moderate sedation to minimize any anxiety and discomfort associated with the procedure.
A tiny needle is inserted into an artery in the region of the hip (or another part of your body). Through the needle a flexible catheter is inserted. There are many types of specialized catheters including angioplasty catheters which have a balloon at the tip of the catheter.
The doctor performing the procedure uses X-ray guidance. X-ray guidance allows the physician to guide the catheter to the region of the blocked artery. Contrast (a x-ray compatible dye) is injected allowing the doctor to visualize blood flow through the arteries and identify regions of arterial blockage. The doctor will use image guidance to cross the region of arterial blockage and angioplasty balloon. Angioplasty can reopen narrowed/blocked arteries and improve/restore blood flow.
Angioplasty with Atherectomy
Atherectomy is a treatment often used with balloon angioplasty. Atherectomy is a procedure to remove plaque buildup from the artery. It can be used to remove blockages before the balloon angioplasty.
When atherectomy is used a small cutting tool is attached to the end of the catheter. When the hard plaque has been removed, the catheter with the balloon can be placed and inflated for angioplasty.
Angioplasty with Stent Placement
Stents are also often paired with balloon angioplasty for the treatment of PAD. While angioplasty can widen narrowed arteries and atherectomy can remove hard plaque, the goal of stent placement is to ensure that arteries stay open after the procedure. A stent is a small tube made of metal mesh.
Stent placement can be used in combination with angioplasty alone or angioplasty and atherectomy.
Risks of Angioplasty
Many medical procedures have risks. Your doctor should discuss all the potential risks and benefits of any procedure with you. For balloon angioplasty, these may include:
- Allergic reactions to medications or X-ray dye
- Bleeding or clotting problems
- Blood vessel damage
- Infection at the site of incision
- Kidney injury from contrast use (primarily for those with existing kidney disease)
PAD, left untreated, can have significant health implications including reduced mobility and in some cases amputation. Patients with PAD also have a higher risk of heart attack and stroke. So, it’s important to seek treatment for PAD. The good news is that even though balloon angioplasty carries some risks—as all medical procedures do—it is a minimally-invasive and outpatient treatment. This means that compared to traditional open surgery, balloon angioplasty can carry lower risks including: infection, bleeding, need for hospitalization, need for anesthesia. Angioplasty also allows for faster recovery versus traditional open surgery.
As with any medical procedure, you can reduce risks by talking through all your concerns with your doctor. Tell your doctor what medications and supplements you currently take. Discuss allergies and medical history, and talk honestly about any alcohol, tobacco, or drug use. Be sure to tell your doctor if you feel sick or have a fever before your procedure, and follow all your doctor’s instructions.
To lower your risk of blockages coming back after balloon angioplasty, make changes to your lifestyle, including eating a balanced diet, getting the recommended amount of physical exercise and quit smoking. Take medicine as recommended by your doctor for all chronic health conditions.
What Kind of Doctor Performs Balloon Angioplasty for PAD?
Balloon angioplasty for PAD can be performed by an interventional radiologist with vascular expertise, like Dr. Ali Golshan at Beach Wellness MD. He is an expert in minimally-invasive treatments for PAD, including balloon angioplasty, atherectomy, and stenting.
Contact us today to schedule your appointment.
ABOUT DR. ALI GOLSHAN
Ali Golshan, MD, is a double board-certified leading vascular expert who specializes in in-office, minimally-invasive interventional radiology treatments at Beach Wellness MD. Dr. Golshan devotes personalized attention to each patient to develop an individualized treatment plan.
Dr. Golshan graduated summa cum laude as valedictorian from the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) with a Bachelor of Science in molecular biology. He then earned a Master of Business Administration from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and a Doctorate of Medicine from the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. Dr. Golshan completed a residency in radiology at UCLA and a fellowship in interventional radiology at the prestigious Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
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