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What can I Expect During a Stent Procedure?

By M.R. Anglin
Updated May 17, 2024
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Before a stent procedure, a patient should meet with his surgeon to receive instruction on to do to prepare for the surgery and what to expect from the operation. For instance, the patient may have to fast before the operation, and he will need to find out whether he will be awake during the procedure or be given a general anesthesia. The patient should be prepared to spend one to three days in the hospital following the surgery, and may receive special instructions regarding taking or discontinuing medications.

A stent procedure is a minimally invasive operation. Often, the doctor will administer sedatives that will relax the patient but not put him to sleep. There are some cases, however, such as when the stent is being placed in the chest region, that the patient will be put to sleep. The patient will also be connected to machines that monitor his heart rate during the procedure. Once the patient is prepared, the area in which the incision will be made is usually numbed with local anesthesia.

The incision is usually made in the groin area so that the surgeon can access an artery leading to the area the stent will be placed. Different tools are then inserted and led up to the target area. Often, a stent procedure will take place in conjunction with an angioplasty, which is a surgery in which a balloon is used to open up a closed area of an artery. Once the angioplasty opens up the artery, the stent is placed. Stents usually remain in the artery to provide a platform to keep the artery open.

Before a stent procedure, a patient may have to fast for about six hours. It is also important that the patient tell the doctor about any medications he is taking. Some medications may cause complications, so a doctor may direct him to stop taking them before the procedure. The doctor may also prescribe some medications that can help thin the blood and reduce blood clotting. These medicines will help the surgery go as smoothly as possible.

Patients may have to stay in the hospital for one to three days after the stent procedure. After he is discharged, he may have to abstain from certain physical activities for 30 days. A person who has undergone a stent procedure may be instructed to take a specific dosage of aspirin daily for the rest of his life. Other drugs, such as blood thinners, may be required for a few weeks, as directed by a doctor. A person should also be aware that the artery may close up again, possibly necessitating a repeat procedure.

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