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What To Expect During a Stent Procedure

For Arteries Narrowed by Plaque

This procedure usually takes about an hour. It might take longer if stents are inserted into more than one artery during the procedure.

Before the procedure starts, you'll get medicine to help you relax. You'll be on your back and awake during the procedure. This allows you to follow your doctor's instructions.

Your doctor will numb the area where the catheter will be inserted. You won't feel the doctor threading the catheter, balloon, or stent inside the artery. You may feel some pain when the balloon is expanded to push the stent into place.

For Aortic Aneurysms

Although this procedure takes only a few hours, it often requires a 2- to 3-day hospital stay.

Before the procedure, you'll be given medicine to help you relax. If your doctor is placing the stent in your abdominal aorta, you may receive medicine to numb your stomach area. However, you'll be awake during the procedure.

If your doctor is placing the stent in the chest portion of your aorta, you'll likely receive medicine to make you sleep during the procedure.

Once you're numb or asleep, your doctor will make a small cut in your groin (upper thigh). He or she will insert a catheter into the blood vessel through this cut.

Sometimes two cuts (one in the groin area of each leg) are needed to place fabric stents that come in two parts. You will not feel the doctor threading the catheter, balloon, or stent into the artery.

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December 17, 2013 Last Updated Icon

The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.