Angioplasty is a common treatment for assisting those with blockage in the arteries, as fatty deposits can clog the arteries and restrict blood flow. The goal of an angioplasty is to reopen those diseased arteries and allow blood and oxygen to flow again to the brain. It is not a cure for this health issue, but instead a way to mend it.
Before performing angioplasty, your neurosurgeon will need to determine the kind of blockage that is causing your condition. He or she may use a catheter or tiny flexible tube inserted through a pulse point such as your groin. With the help of x-ray visualization, your neurosurgeon will have a better definition and understanding of your arteries and how to proceed with the treatment.
How Angioplasty is Performed
Before the procedure, you will be given local anesthesia. During the angioplasty, you may also be given some pain medication, but generally, you should feel no discomfort. If the balloon procedure is performed in your brain, it is generally best if you remain asleep during the process, and you will get general anesthesia.
Using a catheter, your doctor will guide the device along the arteries. Inside this catheter is a tiny wire with a small, deflated balloon. When this wire reaches the right area, the balloon is inflated for about 20 seconds within the inner walls of your artery. There may be some very mild pain at this point, but this is normal and you can be given more pain medication.
It may be possible that your neurosurgeon chooses to use a stent with the balloon. After the procedure, the stent is left expanded inside to assist your arteries and prevent them from becoming blocked again.
A bit of contrast dye will be inserted help the neurosurgeon to determine whether the artery is a proper width to allow blood flow. If the correct width has been achieved, the wire, balloon and catheter can then all be removed. The artery is then closed back using a dissolvable plug, and any bleeding is stopped. In some few cases, the catheter may be left in longer, usually for just a few hours and at most overnight, before being removed.
Recovery Timeline for Angioplasty Procedure
Although you will be able to walk in a few hours right after the treatment, it is recommended that you stay overnight in the hospital so that the doctors can monitor your recovery process. Each case must be treated accordingly. After a stent insertion, you may be prescribed more medicines to help with recovery.
Once you are home, try to not lift very heavy objects or do any kind of strenuous exercise for about a week. Get good rest and build up your stamina and ability to do normal activities slowly.
You may notice some bruising near your puncture site; again, this is normal. There is no need to be concerned unless it becomes red and inflamed or you develop a fever.
To help your body get back to normal, and to counterbalance any inactivity during your rest period, eat plenty of high-fiber foods. Drink lots of water and eat a good amount of fruits and vegetables.
Why Choose Neurosurgeons of New Jersey?
We understand that having to undergo any type of surgery can be a worrying or stressful experience. Our staff and surgeons are committed to helping you get through every step of the way with the most helpful care possible.
In the Tri-State area, we have the largest number of performing neurosurgeons. We encourage open communication with all of our patients and are ready to answer any questions you may have—before, during and after all medical procedures.