All About Angioplasty: What You Need to Know

It’s hard to dispute the benefits of angioplasty when it comes to opening arteries narrowed by life-threatening atherosclerosis, which is caused by the buildup of fats, cholesterol, and other deposits (plaque) on artery walls. Did you know, however, that angioplasty is a relatively quick procedure that doesn’t require a lengthy hospital stay, long recovery phase or even stitches?

Dr. Farouk Marzouk of Frontier Medical Care is a top-level vascular surgeon who provides minimally invasive, artery-clearing treatments for residents in and around the Bay Ridge area of Brooklyn, New York. Here’s what he says about angioplasty and its many benefits.

What is the history of angioplasty?

Treatment to effectively clear arteries blocked with plaque used to require major surgery, a lengthy hospital stay, and several weeks to months of rehab and recovery. Dr. Charles Dotter changed all that when he successfully performed the first angioplasty procedure on a patient with a partially blocked femoral (leg) artery in 1964.

Ten years later, Dr. Andreas Gruentzig used angioplasty to replace coronary artery bypass grafting (open heart surgery) as the favored treatment for coronary artery disease. While bypass grafting is still useful in some cases, angioplasty has since become much more common than open surgery for atherosclerosis.

Angioplasty is about more than your heart’s health

Angioplasty is often used to clear life-threatening blockages of the coronary arteries that supply oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to your heart.

However, Dr. Marzouk may also recommend the procedure for:

The same habits that lead to plaque buildup in the arteries feeding your heart, such as poor nutrition and lack of exercise, also cause plaque buildup throughout your vascular system.

This can have significant effects on your overall health. PAD, for instance, can cause swelling, muscle weakness, and various skin disorders in your legs. Without effective treatment, PAD may eventually require limb amputation.

What can I expect during angioplasty?

During angioplasty, Dr. Marzouk first accesses the targeted artery via a venous puncture and uses advanced imaging technology to guide a thin, balloon-tipped catheter (tube) into the affected blood vessel. 

When it’s reached the targeted blockage, Dr. Marzouk inflates the balloon. This action clears the blockage and restores blood flow through the vessel. 

Depending on the condition of your artery and other factors, he may also place a medical device known as a stent to help reinforce the arterial wall and maintain adequate blood flow at the treatment site.

Angioplasty does not require general anesthesia, so you remain awake. However, Dr. Marzouk provides intravenous (IV) sedation to help keep you calm and relaxed during the procedure. You can expect to spend several hours in the recovery room under medical observation, but most patients return home the same day.

Schedule an evaluation today for more information about angioplasty and other minimally invasive treatments we offer at Frontier Medical Care.

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