Atherectomy is a procedure to widen the arteries, similar to angioplasty.
An atherectomy is used to combat atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. It varies from angioplasty because a high-speed drill first breaks the arterial blockage into small pieces. These pieces are either suctioned out or washed out of the artery by blood flow. If atherectomy did not widen the artery enough, angioplasty with a balloon or stent is performed afterward. Like angioplasty, the result of atherectomy is not permanent and the procedure can be repeated if necessary.
Last updated: 26-May-04