Angioplasty or ballooning is one of the most common procedures being conducted for the treatment of patients suffering from venous diseases or arterial problems. It is mainly recommended for individuals with arterial diseases such as atherosclerosis or peripheral artery occlusive disease. Angioplasty with drug eluting balloon is also frequently used to manage diabetic foot to prevent amputations.
Angioplasty: What is it and how is it done?
Angioplasty is done to widen the passageway of blood in cases of occlusion due to plaque deposits such as cases of atherosclerosis. The procedure is done in the operating room and may take several hours depending on the severity of the patient’s condition. It is a complex procedure where small cuts of about 5 cm is made in the groin for the stent graft to be inserted into the aorta to prevent the aneurysm (a ballooned artery) from further swelling or rupturing.
Before the procedure starts, cardiac monitor and ECG machine will be hooked to the patient. X-ray of the vascular system or angiogram, will also be done to visualize the system. Anesthetics will be introduced to the body via intravenous infusions or any route depending on the surgeon. A thin catheter will then be inserted either in the artery above the elbow or the artery on the groin. The site of insertion depends on the location of the blockage.
After making sure that the guide catheter is in place through the fluoroscope or camera in the catheter, a flexible guide wire will be inserted in the catheter. A hollow-tipped catheter, which contains the balloon, will then be inserted until it reaches the site of blockage. It is then inflated to push the plaque to the walls of the arteries or veins. The stent, which is attached to the balloon catheter, expands and remains expanded during the removal of the catheter. It is the material which will prevent the plaques from blocking the vascular system again.
Why go through Angioplasty and what are the benefits?
It is very important to perform the procedure to prevent chronic venous insufficiency or poor oxygen supply to the veins and heart. Arterial diseases such as aneurysms or venous diseases such as deep vein thrombosis, varicose veins and spider veins can also be prevented when the flow of blood is regulated through the application of stent.
Improvement in the blood flow especially to the distal areas of the body is the major benefit of undergoing balloon angioplasty. Blood flow is usually obstructed when plaque deposits block the blood’s passageway. With balloon angioplasty, the blood passageway will be widened and blood can flow normally. The advantage of using a stent is that the material prevents plaque from occluding again.
It is, however, important for you to control your diet so that the plaque deposits, which are usually fats, will not block the blood vessels again.
Post Angioplasty treatment care
Immediately after the procedure, you will be monitored intensively. After making sure that your condition is stable, you will be instructed to go home while observing the following:
Why choose our vascular surgeon for Angioplasty?
Angioplasty is a complex invasive procedure and it can involve many parts of the human body, as your arteries bring nutrients to important organs such as the kidney. It is important for an experienced surgeon to do the procedure as a deviation from the correct balloon placement may cause damages.
As the Regional Proctor (SEA) of Medtronic Endovascular, our doctor has completed many angioplasty procedures and often invited overseas to supervise or proctor these complex surgeries.
Our doctor uses a new technology called drug eluting balloons, that were introduced to Singapore and approved by Health Science Authority in 2010. Dr Cheng is one of the more aggressive surgeons in Singapore using these balloons. The results have been very positive on our patients thus far, with the blockage opening for at least nine to ten months, compared to two to three months in the past.