A peripheral angioplasty is a minimally-invasive procedure to open up narrowed or blocked arteries in your leg. These have been caused by peripheral arterial disease. Although angioplasty isn’t a cure for the disease, it can help to improve the symptoms.
You might need a peripheral angioplasty if you have been diagnosed with peripheral arterial disease. This is a type of cardiovascular disease that can develop when plaques (fatty deposits) build up on the walls of your arteries. This build up causes them to narrow, reducing the blood supply to muscles and other tissues. In peripheral arterial disease it is normally the legs that are affected.
Symptoms of the condition include cramp-like aching in the calf and tiredness when you walk or climb stairs. The pain may be worse in one leg and it may also affect your thigh, buttock or foot. Furthermore the condition tends to worsen over time and may be accompanied by weakened leg muscles. It can also cause sores on your legs or feet and erectile dysfunction in men. In addition the distance you can walk without symptoms may get less and less as the disease develops.
Our doctors perform peripheral angioplasty as a day case. This takes place in our dedicated angiography suite within the radiology department at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.
In the days before the procedure you may need to stop taking certain types of medication. Your doctor will advise you about this.
During the procedure, you will lie on the X-ray table. Your clinician will clean the skin above your artery (normally in your groin). They will then inject it with local anaesthetic to numb the area. Your doctor will make a small incision to feed a thin flexible plastic tube into your artery. They then inject contrast dye into the artery to show up any narrowing or blockages using the X-ray machine.
The radiologist will then pass a wire and a catheter with a balloon on the tip through the tube to the narrowed area. Once they can see on the X-ray that it is correctly positioned they will inflate the balloon to stretch your artery. After a couple of minutes, they remove the balloon. Sometimes your radiologist will insert a stent (a very small wire mesh tube) to keep the artery open.
Once the procedure is complete, the wire and catheter will be removed and pressure applied to stop any bleeding. Following this you will need to life flat for several hours. Some patients may feel a bit uncomfortable and bruised afterwards but you can normally go home the same day.
After the procedure you should rest for 24 hours and avoid any heavy lifting or vigorous exercise until you are fully recovered. Your radiologist will advise you when it is safe to go back to work.
A peripheral angioplasty can help to reduce the symptoms of peripheral arterial disease. It does this by improving the blood supply to your legs. However, it is not a cure for the disease. Fatty deposits may continue to build up in your arteries if you do not make positive lifestyle changes.
Alongside having the procedure, we recommend quitting smoking and losing weight if you are obese or overweight. In addition you should eat a healthy balanced diet and take regular exercise.
Above all you should also take any medications prescribed to reduce cholesterol and prevent blood clots. If your arteries become narrowed or blocked again you may need another angioplasty or a bypass procedure.
Peripheral angioplasty is a safe and routine procedure. There is, however, is a small risk of complications, including infection at the incision site. There may also be an allergic reaction to the contrast dye.
Occasionally there may be damage to the artery which may result in bleeding or a haematoma, or complete blockage of the artery which may require further surgery. Your radiologist will discuss any individual risks with you prior to the procedure.
Why choose Berkshire Imaging?
We are one of the largest private radiology groups in Berkshire, providing imaging for patients across the county. We are leaders in medical imaging and image guided treatments. As a result we use cutting edge technologies to diagnose and treat many different and often complex conditions.
When you are concerned about your health, you want a doctor to see and treat you as quickly as possible. With Berkshire Imaging you will receive a prompt and accurate diagnosis. This can help ensure better outcomes if you need treatment or put your mind at ease if you don’t.
Where Are You Based?
We provide imaging for patients right across Berkshire. From Newbury and Thatcham in the West along the M4 corridor to Reading, Bracknell and Wokingham and as far as Maidenhead and Slough, we have helped hundreds of patients in Berkshire. Our strong relationships with all the major private hospitals across Berkshire enable us to offer rapid access to private scans in several locations.