Atherectomy is a minimally invasive surgical method of removing
atherosclerosis from a large blood vessel. It is generally used
to treat peripheral arterial disease of the lower extremities.
The procedure involves making an incision in the groin area and
inserting a catheter into the femoral artery and carefully
guiding it to the blockage. The surgeon uses live X-ray pictures
to see the artery and monitor the blood flow inside the artery.
This kind of X-ray is called fluoroscopy.
The surgeon then passes a guide wire through the catheter. The
guide wire carries an atherectomy device to the blockage. Unlike
angioplasty, where the buildup is pushed to the sides by a
balloon to improve blood flow, the plaque is totally removed.
This occurs when the atherectomy device either shaves part of the
plaque away or grinds it up with a spinning diamond-tipped bur.
This procedure is known as rotational atherectomy or rotablator.
After as much plaque as possible is removed but blood flow is
still not restored, a stent may be inserted via the catheter and
left in place to help keep the artery open.
Texas Health is committed to providing quality care to heart
and vascular patients throughout North Texas and beyond. While
various technologies and services are discussed here, not all of
our hospitals offer every treatment and diagnostic technology
highlighted. Call 1-877-THR-WELL to learn more about heart and
vascular services at a Texas Health hospital near you.