Atherectomy is a procedure used to eliminate the build-up of plaque in your arteries. It is especially helpful for removing highly calcified, hardened plaque which cannot be easily treated with angioplasty and stents. This procedure is performed in our dedicated vein center.

What to expect during treatment

A mild sedative will be given through an IV and the area selected for catheter insertion will be numbed with a local anesthetic. Using guiding imagery, your vascular specialist will insert a catheter equipped with a sharp blade and advance it through your artery until it reaches the plaque. The blade then rotates and scrapes off the plaque, collecting it in a chamber of the catheter for removal. This process is repeated as needed to allow better blood flow.

The procedure generally takes two hours but the preparation and recovery time add several hours. You will lie flat for several hours after the procedure and then gradually increase your mobility, initially sitting up, then walking between 6 to 24 hours after the procedure.

Atherectomy usually provides good relief from the symptoms of atherosclerosis. Atherectomy carries the same slight risks as other minimally invasive procedures. However, it is the only technique that removes plaque from the artery.


  • You can usually begin normal activities again within 24 to 48 hours after the procedure.
  • Your doctor will provide specific guidelines for your recovery.