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Stent Implantation Re-Opening Narrowed Arteries

If you have been diagnosed with coronary or peripheral artery disease, your physician might choose to implant a stent into your arteries. Find out how stenting works, how it can improve your condition and what will happen during the procedure.

Stent Implantation

What Is Stenting?

Stenting is a minimally invasive method to re-open narrowed or blocked arteries from inside the vessel. It is a widely used standard procedure to treat coronary and peripheral artery disease. The aim of the procedure is to re-establish unhindered blood circulation in the affected arteries. It is a method to keep an artery open permanently. A stent is a miniscule mesh tube made of nitinol, stainless steel or a cobalt-chromium alloy. Stenting is performed in a catheterization laboratory ("cath lab") under local anesthesia. 


Drug-Eluting Stents and Resorbable Scaffolds

Depending on your condition, your physician might decide on using drug-eluting stents or resorbable scaffolds. 

Drug-eluting stents prevent inflammation and/or restenosis of the artery by eluting medication over a certain span of time. They are particularly efficient in cases of in-stent restenosis – when the already stented part of the artery has narrowed again.

Resorbable scaffolds are other devices to treat coronary artery disease. They consist of material that is slowly absorbed by the body over a period of time. The cardiologist implants the resorbable scaffold like a permanent stent. The resorbable scaffold keeps the vessel open and ensures the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle and there is no permanent implant that could hamper a future intervention. 

Before the Procedure

In case your physician has recommended stenting, you will receive detailed instructions about how to prepare for the intervention. Your cardiologist may advise the following among other things: 

  • To stop taking blood-thinning medication several days before surgery.
  • To stop eating for about 12 hours before the implantation. 
  • If you take other medication regularly, ask your physician if you should continue taking the medication before your procedure. 

In addition to the information your healthcare professional will provide, we have put together frequently asked questions and a checklist that you might want to take a look at and go over with your physician. 

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Stent Implantation Procedure

The stenting procedure starts similarly to balloon angioplasty. To access the vascular system, the physician makes a small cut in the skin near the groin and inserts an introducer sheath — a tube through which the balloon is introduced — into the femoral artery. To position the stent in the vessel, it is mounted on a balloon catheter. While the balloon is deflated, the stent is crimped around it. After the guide wire is pushed through the lesion, the balloon catheter equipped with the stent is advanced along the guide wire to the targeted portion of the vessel. When the catheter is correctly placed, the balloon is inflated. The enlarging balloon opens the stent until the vessel wall. Though the stent remains in the vessel permanently, the balloon is deflated and withdrawn from the body. A physician then removes all devices and carefully closes access to the vascular system.

Graphic of what is required for a Scaffold to provide a vascular restoration therapy

After the Procedure

Depending on your procedure you will remain at the hospital for several hours or even overnight after the stent implantation. Once you are back home, monitor the intersection site for bleeding, swelling, and any abnormal discoloration, and watch out for unusual pain and temperature change at or near the insertion site. A small bruise near the incision site is normal. Should you bleed excessively from the intersection, please contact your physician.

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