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At least 20 percent of all patients who undergo angioplasty and stent procedures suffer from restenosis, a term used when arteries re-clog with scar tissue or plaque after an angioplasty procedure is performed. Until recently, there has been little cardiologists could do to help patients suffering from restenosis short of open-heart surgery. Innovations like atherectomy are helping cardiologists at Norton Heart Care treat re-clogged arteries without open-heart surgery.

Atherectomy is a procedure that removes plaque from the artery wall.  In traditional angioplasty procedures, the plaque is pushed up against the wall of an artery, creating an open channel for blood to flow through.  Atherectomy removes the blockage from the wall of the artery. 

What to expect during this procedure

Cutting balloon - The procedure is the first and only to combine features of traditional angioplasty with advanced microsurgical capabilities. As angioplasty is performed, a balloon attached to a catheter expands and microscopic blades are exposed. As the balloon is inflated, the blades cut into the plaque to remove it instead of pushing it against the artery walls.

What to expect after this procedure

  • You will be moved to an area where your heart rate, pulse and blood pressure will be closely monitored.
  • The catheter insertion site will be checked for bleeding, and you will be given medication for discomfort.
  • Pain is minimal and recovery times are rapid. You usually can start walking within 4to 8 hours after atherectomy.
  • For most procedures the average hospital stay is one to two days.
  • It is not uncommon for arteries to re-clog after angioplasty because of scar tissue or a recurrence of plaque build up. If you do experience another blockage, a surgeon typically will perform another angioplasty or a different procedure to clear the artery. 

Returning home
If you have any questions about your care after you return home, call your physician’s office.

This procedure is offered at these facilities:

To find a physician visit our Find a Doc or call (502) 629-1234 for a physician referral.

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