Balloon Angioplasty Melbourne
A patient’s guide
Mr Mark Lovelock – FRACS
Vascular & Endovascular Surgeon
What is Balloon Angioplasty
A Balloon Angioplasty is a minimally invasive, endovascular surgical procedure used to widen narrowed or obstructed arteries or veins. It is commonly used to treat arterial atherosclerosis (which is a build up of fatty substances that can harden and narrow your arteries and veins overtime causing restricted blood flow. Serious cases can result in heart attack or death).
Balloon angioplasty is usually used to treat hardening of the arteries in the lower limbs where the restricted blood flow produces pain in the muscles of the leg when walking or else disturbs the blood supply to such a degree that the leg becomes cold, painful or even starts to die.
The aim of balloon angioplasty is to re-open the artery to allow the flow of blood to be restored.
Balloon Angioplasty Surgery
The procedure requires an initial angiogram to help find the exact site of the blockage that is restricting the blood flow.
What is an angiogram
An angiogram is an X-ray test that uses a special dye and camera (fluoroscopy) to take pictures of your blood flow in an artery or a vein.
During an angiogram, a thin tube called a catheter is placed into a blood vessel of the area to be studied. A dye is injected into the vessel to make the area show up clearly on the X-ray identifying the blockage site/s.
Once the area of narrowing has been defined, a deflated balloon attached to a catheter (a balloon catheter) is passed over a guide-wire into the narrowed vein or arterty and then inflated to a fixed size.
The balloon forces expansion of the blood vessel wall, allowing an improved blood flow. A stent may be inserted at the time of ballooning to ensure the vessel remains open.
A further angiogram is done to check that the result is satisfactory and the balloon is then deflated and withdrawn.
The procedure itself is normally done under a local anaesthetic although some sedation is often provided to make you less nervous. Any excess pain should be reported to Mr. Lovelock.
Following the completion of the balloon procedure, the pressure in the groin required to seal the artery or vein may be a little uncomfortable. Patients are advised to lie flat for some hours after the procedure to ensure that there is no further bleeding from where the puncture was performed in the artery. Once the seal has been confirmed you can then sit up, move about, go home or stay in hospital overnight – whichever is appropriate.
The angiogram itself may cause problems by dislodging some of the fatty deposits that are clogging the vein or artery. There also may be difficulties associated with the dye used to make the artery show up on the x-ray. The risk of any major event from the angiogram is less than 1 in 5,000 treatments.
The balloon angioplasty may also cause a rupture or thrombosis of the artery. This may require further treatment by means of clot dissolving medicine, or an operation to repair the damage. This happens in approximately 1 in 200 procedures.
Bruising or haematoma formation may occur around the needle puncture site and may produce some uncomfortable swelling and/or bruising. Any excessive groin discomfort following a groin procedure should be reported to Mr. Lovelock immediately.
Smoking – Tobacco use after balloon angioplasty increases the risks of re-blockage. All patients are advised to cease smoking prior to and following the procedure.
Most balloon angioplasties result in a considerable period of improvement. The most common problem after balloon angioplasty is re-narrowing which occurs in about 5% of people. More often people return with further trouble some years later and this is due to narrowing of the artery, generally at another site. This problem can also be treated by further balloon procedures.
If you have any questions or to would like to book an appointment visit:
Balloon Angioplasty Melbourne
Mr Mark Lovelock consults and treats patients from all over Melbourne in relation to Balloon Angioplasty Surgical Procedures including Richmond, Mulgrave, Brighton, Box Hill, Gardenvale, Elsternwick, Elwood, St Kilda, St Kilda East, Caufield, Glen Huntly, Bentleigh, Hampton, Sandringham, Black Rock, Cremorne, Toorak, South Yarra, Collingwood, Fitzroy, South Melbourne, Hawthorn, Armadale, Wheelers Hill, Glen Waverley, Mount Waverley, Oakleigh, Surrey Hills, Blackburn, Burwood and Camberwell.