What is an Atherectomy?
An Atherectomy is a minimally invasive endovascular technique for removing or modifying plaque (atherosclerosis) inside an artery in the body. It is also used in cases where patients have CTO (Chronic Total Occlusion). The procedure uses a catheter and a sharp blade together to remove the plaque. This procedure is different from angioplasties and stents because it removes the plaque as opposed to pushing it or mashing it down against the vessel wall. This procedure can be used in arteries as well as veins. A local anesthesia is used for this procedure.
A variety of equipment can be used for atherectomy:
Rotational: uses a rotating, diamond-tipped burr which spins at high speeds (150K rpm) to ablate and modify calcified plaque
Orbital: uses a diamond-coated crown which rotates at high speeds to differentially sand plaque within the artery
Laser: uses a light energy emitted from a small catheter to vaporize and modify plaque
Directional: uses a directional cutting device to remove larger amounts of plaque built up on the artery wall (works like ‘Pac-Man’)