If peripheral artery disease (PAD) causes the arteries in your legs to become clogged and narrowed to the point that blood flow cannot supply enough oxygen to your leg muscles, your doctor may recommend a procedure to restore blood flow to the muscles. When blood flow is restored, leg pain – and the risk of losing a leg or foot due to severe narrowing of the arteries – may be reduced.
Endovascular Procedures for PAD
An endovascular procedure is performed inside the blood vessels through the use of a small, flexible tube, called a catheter.
There are many endovascular procedures that may be recommended for the treatment of PAD, but the most common is angioplasty and stenting. This procedure is also commonly used to treat blocked arteries to the heart to restore blood flow and stop chest pain (angina), halt a heart attack or lower the risk of heart attack or stroke. An endovascular procedure is performed by a doctor who has had special endovascular training. PAD can be treated by a number of specialists, including interventional cardiologists, vascular surgeons, interventional radiologists, and vascular medicine specialists.
To learn more about peripheral artery angioplasty and stenting, click here.
Surgery for Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
Surgery is another option for restoring blood flow to your legs, or in some cases arms. If a lengthy portion of an artery becomes narrowed – or if a blood vessel is severely blocked, then your doctor may recommend bypass surgery. Blood flow is restored by rerouting the blood around the blockage in an effort to reduce leg pain and the risk of losing a leg or foot due to severe narrowing of the arteries.
To learn more about bypass surgery for peripheral artery disease, click here.
If the Pain Returns After Your Procedure or Surgery
Arteries can become blocked again after they have been treated. A re-narrowing of the artery, called restenosis, may cause you to experience leg or foot pain. If you feel pain after you have been treated, call your doctor. A second procedure may be needed to widen the artery again.
Treatment - Not a Cure
Remember, medications and procedures do not cure peripheral artery disease because plaque continues to accumulate in our arteries throughout our lives. Arteries can become blocked again after they have been treated. If you feel pain after you have been treated, call your doctor. A second procedure may be needed to treat the artery again.