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What can I Expect During Stent Surgery?

During stent surgery, you'll be under local anesthesia as a catheter guides the stent to your narrowed artery. The procedure is minimally invasive, with swift recovery times. You may feel pressure, but discomfort is minimal. Intrigued by the intricacies of this life-saving technique? Discover the step-by-step process and how it restores the rhythm of countless hearts. Continue with us for a closer look.
Lori Kilchermann
Lori Kilchermann

When undergoing stent surgery, most people will encounter no pain and are actually able to monitor the procedure on operating room television monitors. After receiving a local anesthetic to numb the inner thigh area of the leg, the area is prepped by shaving any hair from the thigh where it joins with the groin. A small incision is made and the doctor inserts an angioplasty tool into the main artery and works it up into the heart. After determining the location of a blockage, the tool is removed and a stent is placed onto the end of the tool. The tool is once again inserted into the artery and the stent surgery is completed when the stent is placed in the blocked artery.

The entire procedure lasts for only a few minutes. Once the stent has been placed and the tool is removed, the most difficult portion of the stent surgery is to follow. The patient is required to lie completely motionless for up to several hours in order for the open incision to seal up. This area is not able to be stitched, and the success of the stent surgery is dependent on the sealing of this incision. The lying still is typically the most difficult part of the procedure for most patients.

Patients often report a feeling of pressure as an angioplasty tool makes its way through the heart.
Patients often report a feeling of pressure as an angioplasty tool makes its way through the heart.

It is the task of the doctor who is performing the stent surgery to determine if a stent will suffice for the patient or if a bypass surgery is warranted. While the angioplasty is taking place, the doctor will explore all areas of the heart to check for plaque and blockages. The patient is able to monitor this exploration by watching a television monitor placed overhead. A radio-active dye is injected into the patient's blood stream before the stent surgery to aid in tracking the angioplasty tool throughout its journey.

Angioplasty is used to expand arteries that have become narrowed or blocked.
Angioplasty is used to expand arteries that have become narrowed or blocked.

The most commonly reported sensation from patients who have undergone a stent surgery is a feeling of pressure as the angioplasty tool makes its way through the heart. Providing the doctor does not encounter any severely blocked arteries or any damaged heart muscle, the stent surgery is complete with the placing of the stent or stents in the case of multiple blockages. If the doctor finds any severely blocked arteries, typically 75-percent blockage or more, the procedure will be ended with only a scouting expedition and bypass surgery will be scheduled.

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    • Patients often report a feeling of pressure as an angioplasty tool makes its way through the heart.
      By: VILevi
      Patients often report a feeling of pressure as an angioplasty tool makes its way through the heart.
    • Angioplasty is used to expand arteries that have become narrowed or blocked.
      By: designua
      Angioplasty is used to expand arteries that have become narrowed or blocked.
    • Stent surgery can be performed as treatment for blocked arteries due to hypertension.
      By: Alexandr Mitiuc
      Stent surgery can be performed as treatment for blocked arteries due to hypertension.