As discussed in the section on Coronary Angiogram (Cardiac Catheterization), one of the most common conditions that heart specialists in Hudson County are called upon to treat is atherosclerosis, the narrowing of blood vessels as the result of a buildup of cholesterol plaque. In many cases, this condition can be treated using angioplasty or by Coronary Intervention (stent placement). But some patients can manifest deposits of calcium in the arterial plaque of the lower extremities that causes it to become so hard (like bones or teeth) that these two treatments don’t work as well to reopen the arteries.

In such cases, another procedure that the best heart doctors in Hudson County use is a minimally invasive surgical technique called atherectomy. Unlike angioplasty and stents, which open blocked arteries by pushing the buildup of plaque into the walls of the blood vessel, atherectomy cuts these calcified lesions from the arterial walls.

There are several types of atherectomy, depending on the type of lesion being treated. All of them involve gaining access to the blocked artery via a needle puncture. Then the lesions can be removed using rotational, orbital, or directional atherectomy (in which diamond-tipped drills are used to shave off the lesions), or laster atherectomy (in which a tiny laser applies heat to the lesions to melt them. Atherectomy can be used as a standalone treatment, or may be used remove sufficient plaque from arteries that they may then be treated with angioplasty or stenting.

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