Angioplasty heralded a new age of less-invasive heart procedures, where catheters and balloons replaced scalpels and sternal saws. But more and more, sharp edges are making a comeback — the latest is the FlexTome from Boston Scientific:
The Flextome is different from standard angioplasty balloons in that it is lined on the outside with three or four lengthwise microsurgical blades. During angioplasty, a balloon catheter is snaked into the plaque-congested arteries and inflated to push back the plaque and reopen the blood vessel.
However, some plaque is fibrous and resistant to the compression. The blades on the Flextome score the plaque as the balloon inflates, allowing for easier compression of the plaque.
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