Atherectomy

One of the more recent innovations in the minimally invasive treatment of arterial blockages is the technique of atherectomy. Literally, atherectomy means cutting out the plaque. With a similar technique as that involved in stenting and balloon angioplasty, a special catheter with a blade at the tip is maneuvered back and forth in the diseased arterial segment. The blade shaves the plaque from the arterial wall and the fragments are collected within the catheter. In this fashion, a new channel is created in the diseased artery. Sometimes, in order to obtain the desired effect, balloon angioplasty with or without stenting may be added to the procedure.