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At the University of Miami Health System, experienced vascular surgeons use atherectomy to remove plaque (fatty tissue build-up) from the walls of arteries. This minimally invasive procedure can improve blood flow if you experience peripheral vascular disease or coronary artery disease.


Atherectomy is most commonly used if you have already had a balloon angioplasty or stent placed, but still have poor blood flow. 

What to Expect

You will be sedated for your atherectomy procedure. Because of the sedation, it is important to tell your doctor about any medicines you take. You should also avoid eating for several hours before your procedure and ensure a friend or family member can drive you home after your procedure.

You will receive sedation through an IV in your hand. Once you are sedated, your surgeon will make a small incision in your groin, wrist, neck or other area of your body depending on where your narrowed or blocked artery is located. They will then guide a catheter (thin tube) through the incision and into the affected blood vessel. They will inject a contrast dye through the catheter and use live X-ray images to see exactly where blood flow is blocked.

Once they are in the correct area, they will use small razor blades on the end of the catheter to cut away hard plaque. The plaque is collected in the end of the catheter and removed you’re your body. Your surgeon may also perform an angioplasty to place a stent, depending on your needs.

After the procedure, you may spend some time in the hospital recovering. You will need to lie flat for several hours afterward, so may spend the night in the hospital. Your doctor will let you know when you can resume your normal activities.

Why Choose UHealth?

Leading-edge imaging care in South Florida. Our doctors are also researchers discovering new ways to improve diagnosis and treatment. That means you can get some of today’s most promising advancements through clinical trials. You benefit from the latest developments that are fast-tracked from the lab to the bedside.

Advanced, hard-to-find procedures. Our doctors are committed to caring for every patient. That’s why they offer the latest treatments, including limb salvage and endovascular grafting, to improve your blood flow. 

All the care you need, from one physician. Our vascular surgeons perform a wide range of procedures so you can have the same physician for any vascular care you need as your condition changes. Whether you need a stent replaced or a vein grafted, you can always turn to the doctor you trust.

Experienced doctors, reliable results. UHealth vascular surgeons perform hundreds of stent placements, angiograms and more every year. You can rely on their experience to help you avoid complications and have a positive outcome.

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