Stent implantation. Surgeon implanting a stent into the iliac artery through a woman's upper leg. Stents are mesh tubes which are expanded inside diseased blood vessels to keep them open. The iliac artery is one of the two arteries in the pelvic region which branches off to each leg from the descending aorta. If it is narrowed, the leg muscles may not get enough oxygen-rich blood, leading to cold toes and feet, and disorders such as claudication (cramp-like pain during exercise). Arterial narrowing (stenosis) is usually caused by excessive smoking, eating too much cholesterol and a lack of exercise. Remedying these factors is important in effecting a cure.
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