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A mesenteric stent is a small wire mesh tube that is used to hold open a renal artery that has been narrowed by artery disease (atherosclerosis). The mesenteric arteries are the blood vessels that branch off the largest artery in the body (the aorta). The superior mesenteric artery carries blood to the small intestine and part of the larger intestine. The inferior mesenteric artery carries blood to the lower part of the larger intestine.
Atherosclerosis is a disease that affects the blood vessels. Atherosclerosis is caused by fatty, cholesterol deposits that begin within the blood vessel wall and eventually progress to cause narrowing of the blood vessel itself. This narrowing can block blood flow through the artery.
To begin a mesenteric stenting procedure, a thin guide wire is inserted into a small incision in the upper thigh. This process is usually visualized using x-rays and a special dye that helps reveal the arteries. This guide wire is carefully inserted into the femoral artery and guided through the aorta until it reaches the mesenteric artery. Then a thin tube with a balloon at its tip (called a balloon catheter) is inserted over the guide wire until it reaches the renal artery. The balloon is then inflated inside the narrowed artery. This pushes the artery walls open and this is called angioplasty. The balloon is deflated and the catheter is removed. Another balloon catheter with a collapsed stent over the balloon is then inserted over the guide wire. Once in place, the balloon is inflated. The stent is expanded by the balloon. The balloon is deflated and the stent remains in place. The catheter and guidewire are then removed.
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