Peripheral Artery Disease

Chronic leg pain isn’t normal as we age—it is a warning sign that you may have peripheral artery disease (PAD). Left untreated, it can lead to painful cramping, limited mobility, amputation, gangrene, infection and even death. Fortunately, there are highly effective treatment options if PAD is detected early.

PAD is caused by a narrowing of the blood vessels in the legs. It can also occur in the arms, stomach and head. One in five Americans over 65 has PAD.

The narrowing is the result of a buildup of cholesterol and scar tissue on the walls of the artery which forms a substance known as plaque. The plaque builds up gradually and over time it will clog the artery, restricting the flow of blood. In some cases, PAD may be caused by blood clots that break free from within larger arteries and get lodged in narrower arteries, which reduces blood flow. We offer a simple test to diagnose PAD, as well as minimally invasive therapies to treat it so you can live a longer life, free of leg pain.

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With or without vascular stenting, angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure performed at POM Vascular to improve blood flow in the body’s arteries and veins.

In an angioplasty procedure, imaging techniques are used to guide a balloon-tipped catheter (a long, thin plastic tube) into an artery or vein and advance it to where the vessel is narrow or blocked. The balloon is then inflated to open the vessel, deflated and removed.

During angioplasty, a small wire mesh tube called a stent may be permanently placed in the newly opened artery or vein to help it remain open. There are two types of stents: bare stents (wire mesh) and covered stents (also commonly called stent grafts.

Angioplasty and vascular stenting have a number of advantages of traditional surgery:

  • Minimally invasive
  • Does not require general anesthesia
  • Performed in a comfortable, outpatient setting
  • Involves minimal downtime (approximately one day)


Another procedure to treat PAD—known as atherectomy—utilizes a catheter with a sharp blade on the end to remove plaque from a blood vessel.

The doctor inserts a catheter into the artery through a small puncture in the skin. It is advanced to the area where plaque is narrowing the blood vessel, where the plaque is cut and removed from the artery through the catheter. The process can be repeated at the time of treatment to remove a significant amount of disease from the artery, eliminating blockages and restoring blood flow.

Like angioplasty, it is performed without general anesthesia and in an outpatient setting, with minimal downtime.