A stent is a small metal coil or tube that is placed in a narrowed artery to hold it open. To place the stent, your healthcare provider first performs angioplasty or atherectomy to compress or cut away plaque buildup in the artery. Sometimes the stent can be placed during an initial balloon angioplasty. The procedure happens in 3 steps:
- An expandable balloon catheter, with a stent attached, is positioned inside the narrowed artery.
- The balloon is expanded.
- The balloon catheter is deflated and withdrawn. The stent remains behind to hold open the artery and help maintain good blood flow.