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Angioplasty and Stenting Procedure

Angioplasty and stenting are minimally invasive, endovascular treatments for coronary artery disease and peripheral artery disease (PAD). Peripheral artery disease is also known as peripheral vascular disease (PVD). These conditions occur when arteries are clogged with fatty plaque. Angioplasty and stenting can widen the space inside the artery to restore blood flow and help prevent heart attack or amputation.

Angioplasty and Stenting: What You Need to Know

Man researching angioplasty and stenting treatments
  • Minimally invasive, endovascular procedures such as angioplasty can reduce risk and offer shorter recovery times, compared to open surgery.
  • Angioplasty is sometimes done alone, without stenting.
  • Your doctor will choose a therapy based on your ability to exercise, your risk of open surgery, and the type, number and degree of blockage(s).

Angioplasty (Percutaneous Transluminal Angioplasty)

  • Angioplasty may be performed for coronary artery disease or peripheral artery disease. When it is performed for peripheral arty disease, the procedure is called percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA).
  • At the start of the procedure, a thin tube called a catheter enters the femoral artery through a small puncture in the thigh.
  • Your physician uses X-rays to guide the catheter to the blockage, then inflates a balloon at the tip of the catheter.
  • The balloon presses the clogging material flat against the artery wall, expanding the artery and allowing more space for the blood to flow.
  • Your physician may use a plain balloon or one coated with medication (drug-eluting balloon), which helps prevent scarring while the artery heals.


  • A stent is a tube of metal mesh that holds your artery open and may improve the results of angioplasty alone.
  • In a minimally invasive, endovascular procedure, a catheter delivers the stent to the blockage site.
  • Stents can be bare metal, covered with fabric and/or coated with medication (drug-eluting stent), which helps prevent scarring while the artery heals.
  • Stents may also be placed as part of open surgery.

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Our Patient Education

Avoiding Leg Amputations Due to Peripheral Arterial Disease | Q&A

Johns Hopkins Medicine Vascular Surgeon Dr. Thomas Reifsnyder discusses symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of severe peripheral arterial disease (PAD). He also shares insight on how to avoid limb amputations, including leg and foot removal.