Angioplasty is a procedure that opens an artery that has become narrowed by the effects of atherosclerosis.
During angioplasty, a thin, hollow tube, called a catheter, is threaded into an artery. When the end of the catheter reaches the narrowed part of the artery, a balloon is inflated through the end of the catheter. The balloon pushes against the walls of the artery, opening the narrowed portion.
Usually, a cylindrical cage, called a stent, is placed in the narrowed portion of the artery, in order to hold it open.
During endarterectomy, a catheter is used to deliver additional tools that open the artery and help to restore blood flow. Using tiny blades, lasers or other devices, the tools cut or burn away tissue that is blocking the artery.
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