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Cardiac and Vascular Stenting

In most cases, balloon angioplasty is performed in combination with the stenting procedure. A stent is a small, metal mesh tube that acts as a scaffold to provide support inside the coronary artery. A balloon catheter, placed over a guide wire, is used to insert the stent into the narrowed artery. Once in place, the balloon is inflated and the stent expands to the size of the artery and holds it open. The balloon is deflated and removed, and the stent stays in place permanently. During a period of several weeks, the artery heals around the stent. In this way, restenosis is somewhat diminished compared with balloon angioplasty.

Drug-eluting stents contain a medication that is actively released at the stent implantation site. Drug-eluting stents have a thin surface of medication to further reduce the risk of restenosis.