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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana

Renal Angioplasty & Stents

One treatment for renal artery stenosis is renal artery angioplasty. A small flexible tube called a catheter can be positioned inside the renal artery. An angioplasty is performed by using a catheter that has a tiny balloon attached to the end. The angioplasty balloon is inflated inside the vessel and presses any plaque (blockage) into the walls of the vessel.

In addition to percutaneous angioplasty, a vessel may require stent placement. A stent is a mesh metal tube that is pressed into the sides of the vessel in order to hold the vessel open. An un-deployed stent is wrapped around an angioplasty balloon. The balloon is at the end of the catheter. The balloon and stent combination are positioned at the stenosis inside the vessel. The balloon is then inflated and thus expands (deploys) the stent, pressing it against the inside of the vessel wall. Once the stent is fully expanded, the balloon is deflated and removed from the vessel. The stent stays inside of the lumen to hold the vessel open.