Ballon angioplasty is a technique for widening a narrowed or blocked section of blood vessel by the introduction of a balloon-tipped catheter (flexible tube) into the constricted area of the vessel. The balloon is inflated to widen the narrowed area, deflated, then removed. Balloon angioplasty is used to increase or restore blood flow in a significantly narrowed artery in peripheral vascular disease and coronary artery disease.
Coronary balloon angioplasty is usually successful in the short term, but narrowing of the affected vessel may recur, requiring repeat treatment. Angioplasty of peripheral vessels is most successful in treating the iliac and femoral arteries in the legs. Results have improved further with the introduction of stents (metal mesh structures), which are inserted into an artery following balloon dilation to help keep the blood vessel open.
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