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Non-Surgical Treatment of Blocked Arteries in the Legs


Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) usually results from arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).  Many causes have been identified including elevated cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, and congenital factors.  The symptoms usually begin with pain in the calves or legs when walking that is relieved by rest.

Interventional radiologists can perform non-surgical procedures such as angioplasty, stent placement and thrombolysis to open blocked arteries and restore circulation to the legs.

Balloon Angioplasty

This procedure can open blocked arteries by expanding the inner diameter with a balloon mounted on a thin tube.  Studies from the interventional radiology literature show the procedure is longer lasting in the larger arteries supplying the legs.


Stents are mesh-like metal tubes that can be expanded inside arteries to hold them open when balloon angioplasty alone isn't successful.


This involves injecting "clot-busting" drugs via a catheter directly into clots in leg arteries (or veins). The clots can be melted down to avoid surgery.

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