What is an Atherectomy?
An atherectomy is a procedure used to remove plaque within an artery. Typically, this particular procedure is performed when the plaque has hardened within a major artery.
Over time, plaque can build up and even harden within a person’s blood vessels, which puts them at risk for a number of serious health conditions such as a heart attack or stroke.
How it Works
Prior to surgery, the patient will be given a sedative and local anesthetic to prevent any feeling of pain or discomfort.
During an atherectomy, a catheter will be placed into the artery via a small incision nearby. At the end of the catheter will be a sharp, rotating blade. This is what will be used to scrape away the plaque and restore proper chamber flow. The attending physician may also choose to insert a stent in order to keep the artery open, and to avoid future atherectomy procedures.
Once the plaque has been removed, the surgeon will use contrast dye to check for any abnormalities of the artery before finally removing the catheter and concluding the atherectomy.
Recovery from an Atherectomy
The entire atherectomy typically takes about 2 hours to complete. The patient will need to remain lying down for several hours after the procedure, and will also require at least a couple nights stay in the hospital for continued observation.
An atherectomy is fairly mild, and most patients are able to begin walking within the next 12 to 24 hours post-operation. Regular activities such as driving or exercising require an additional resting period of a few days, and will be determined in more detail by Dr. Misick.