PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Angioplasty being performed in a hospital operating theatre. Angioplasty is a form of remote surgery that uses a balloon catheter to widen a narrowed, obstructed artery. Arteries may become blocked by the formation of fatty atheroma plaques. The deflated, cigar-shaped balloon is introduced through a guide catheter via an artery in the leg and manoeuvered using x-ray imaging until it reaches the arterial obstruction. The balloon is then gradually inflated with fluid so that it compresses the obstruction and allows blood to flow more freely in the vessel. Angioplasty is often used to treat obstructions in the coronary arteries that supply the heart.
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