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Learn about interventional radiology
Massachusetts General Hospital Imaging provides angioplasty and stenting, a minimally invasive, image-guided treatment for narrowing and blockage of arteries and veins, on the Mass General main campus in Boston. Performed by specially trained radiologists using real-time image guidance, interventional-radiology procedures such as angioplasty and stenting often require smaller incisions, have fewer risks of complication, and take less recovery time than traditional surgery.
Angioplasty and stenting overview
Angioplasty and stenting in depth
What is angioplasty and stenting?
Angioplasty and stenting is an image-guided, non-surgical procedure that is used to restore the free flow of blood to arteries or veins that have become blocked. The procedure involves threading a balloon-tipped catheter through your blood vessels to the point of the blockage, inflating the balloon to expand the blood vessel, and optionally placing a stent that will remain in place to hold the vessel open.
The interventional radiologists who perform procedures at Mass General Imaging are specialists in the area of the body and the condition under treatment, as well as the procedure itself. In addition to the training that all radiologists receive, these specialists have additional education, plus extensive real-world experience. In many cases, our doctors helped to pioneer the interventional treatments that we offer.
Our team of interventional radiologists and nurse practitioners coordinates a patient's complete care—from imaging evaluation to post-procedure followup—maintaining a high level of communication with the patient throughout the process. In addition, Mass General Imaging works in close coordination with experts from across Mass General when necessary.
What should I expect BEFORE angioplasty and stenting?
What should I expect DURING angioplasty and stenting?
During the procedure, a specially trained interventional radiologist uses live imaging to thread a plastic tube, called a catheter, through your blood vessels from a small incision in the groin to the location of the narrowing or blockage. The doctor then inflates a small balloon to open the blood vessel, restoring blood flow. In many cases, the doctor then places a tube-shaped device, called a stent, which remains in the body to hold the blood vessel open.
What should I expect AFTER angioplasty and stenting?
You will be admitted to the hospital overnight so that we can monitor your condition. Once you return home, you should take it easy for a few days and avoid any strenuous activity for 10 days. Most people return to a normal level of activity in one to three weeks.
A recent Mass General study showed that a procedure called carotid-artery stenting is just as safe and effective in preventing stroke in patients with no symptoms as the standard surgical approach.
Department of Radiology Chairman Emeritus James H. Thrall, MD, explains how the ability to see deep inside the body has driven the development of minimally invasive methods of treatment—a trend in which Mass General Imaging has played a key role.
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