Types of Angioplasty Procedures

When undergoing angioplasty, there are several methods that doctors employ in order to widen or open up a narrowed or blocked artery to increase the blood flow to the heart. Although they procedures go through the same process- inserting a sheath inside an artery from either the groin or the arm area, guiding the catheter towards the coronary vessels and engaged towards a blocked artery- the means of widening the artery can be done in a number of ways.

Balloon Angioplasty

Balloon angioplasty is considered as the most common procedure today. It is performed with a special catheter that has a small balloon tip. This catheter is then guided towards the area where the arteries have narrowed considerably.

Once in place, the balloon is then inflated, compressing the blockage composed of fatty matter into the artery walls. This allows the artery to widen and increase the blood flowing through it.


Another common angioplasty procedure that doctors employ is stenting. This angioplasty procedure involves using a device called stent.

It is a small metal mesh tube that acts as a scaffold that supports the artery walls. The stent is guided towards the affected artery along with the catheter with the balloon tip.

When the balloon is inflated, it expands the stent along with widening the narrowed artery. When the balloon deflates, the stent stays in place permanently. Over a period of several weeks, the artery heals around the stent.


This is a now rarely used method of widening narrowed arteries since the balloon and stent procedures were developed. It involves using a special catheter that has an acorn shaped and diamond coated tip.

This catheter is guided towards the narrowed artery and then spun at high speed, grinding the plaque away from the artery walls.

The particles then are removed through the blood stream where they are filtered by the liver and spleen safely. This allows the artery to be rid of fatty matter and widen to allow more blood to flow through.

Cutting Balloon

This method makes use of a catheter with a special balloon tip with small blades. When the balloon is inflated, the small blades rotate and grind away the plaque along with compressing the fatty matter into the artery wall.