What Are Stents?

A stent is a small mesh tube used to help treat narrowed or weakened arteries. It is usually put in place after an artery has been widened during angioplasty.

The stent is maneuvered into place with a catheter and then expanded by an inflating balloon. Then, the balloon and catheter are withdrawn, leaving the stent to hold the vessel open for adequate blood flow. The stent supports the inner artery wall, reducing the chance that it will close up again.

How Are Stents Placed?

First, your doctor will make a small opening in a blood vessel in your upper thigh, arm or neck. He or she then will thread a catheter with a stent fitted around a deflated balloon into this opening and up to the narrowed artery section.

Once the tube is in the area of the artery that needs treatment, your doctor will:

  • Use a special dye to show narrowed areas of the blood vessel.
  • Inflate the balloon, which compresses the plaque against the artery wall. The opened balloon also expands the surrounding stent, pushing it into place in the artery.
  • Deflate the balloon and remove it along with the catheter, leaving the stent in your artery. Cells eventually grow to cover the mesh of the stent, resulting in an inner layer that resembles what is normally seen inside a blood vessel.

Using a stent helps decrease the chances that the artery will close back up soon after angioplasty.

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For more information about the Cardiovascular Institute of Carolina, call 803-641-5551.

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Aiken Regional Medical Centers is owned and operated by a subsidiary of Universal Health Services, Inc.(UHS), a King of Prussia, PA-based company, that is one of the largest healthcare management companies in the nation.          

Aiken Regional Medical Centers

302 University Parkway
Aiken, SC 29801

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