What Is Atherectomy?
The catheter used in this procedure has a hollow cylinder on the tip with an open window on one side and a balloon on the other. When the catheter is inserted into the narrowed artery, the balloon is inflated, pushing the window against the plaque. A blade (cutter) within the cylinder rotates and shaves off any plaque that protruded into the window. The shavings are caught in a chamber within the catheter and removed. This process is repeated as needed to allow for better blood flow. Like rotablation, this procedure is rarely used today.
Cutting Balloon. The cutting balloon catheter has a special balloon tip with small blades. When the balloon is inflated, the blades are activated. The small blades score the plaque, then the balloon compresses the plaque against the artery wall.