Balloon Angioplasty

A balloon angioplasty opens a blocked or narrowed artery. You may need this procedure to treat critical limb ischemia (severe blockage in the arteries of your legs), also called CLI.

How to Prepare for a Balloon Angioplasty

To prepare for a balloon angioplasty procedure, you should:

  • Arrange blood tests and imaging tests before the procedure
  • Ask your doctor about stopping medications if necessary
  • Avoid eating and drinking by midnight the night before your balloon angioplasty
  • Schedule someone to drive you home after the procedure

What to Expect During a Balloon Angioplasty

A balloon angioplasty usually takes one to two hours. You may be able to have it as an outpatient procedure (same-day surgery) in a clinic or hospital. 

First, you will receive an intravenous (IV) line in your arm for fluids and medicines. Next, you will receive a sedative through the IV to help you relax and not feel pain. You will be awake during the procedure.

Once the medicine is working, we make a small cut to reach the blockage. A doctor places a small balloon through a thin, long tube (catheter) and inserts it into your artery. By inflating the balloon at the blockage or narrowing spot, we compress the built-up fatty tissue (plaque). When we deflate the balloon and remove it, blood can flow more freely through the artery. We use stitches and a bandage to cover the cut, and then we move you to a recovery room.   

What Happens After a Balloon Angioplasty

After your surgery, our team monitors your heart rate and blood pressure. Depending on your results, you may be able to go home the same day. Once your doctor releases you from the clinic or hospital, you can have someone drive you home. Follow your doctor's instructions for returning to normal activities.