Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a condition where arteries in the legs become narrow, reducing blood flow. PAD is caused by the buildup of plaque in the arteries of the legs. Plaque is a substance made up of cholesterol, calcium and fibrous tissue. As more plaque builds up, arteries narrow and stiffen. Over time, plaque builds up to reduce blood flow to the arteries of the legs. When this happens, a patient's legs does not receive the oxygen it needs.

Angioplasty and stents are often used to widen an affected artery improving blood flow. Angioplasty consists of inserting a small balloon into the narrow part of the artery and expanding it, pushing back the plaque. Stents are small tubes of fabric reinforced with metal mesh. They remain in the arteries to hold them open. Specialty-trained radiologists use image-guided techniques to perform these minimally-invasive procedures, providing patients with reduced hospital stays, minimal downtime and less pain.

Angioplasty and Stents

Peripheral arterial disease procedure at VCU Health's Baird Vascular Institute.


Image-guided techniques are minimally-invasive procedures providing patients with reduced hospital stays and less downtime and pain.