A stent graft is a small metal coil or mesh tube that is placed in an artery thickened with a buildup of plaque which has decreased the flow of blood and oxygen to vital body organs and extremities. This condition is called atherosclerosis.
The stent graft is mounted on a balloon-tipped catheter (a long, thin, hollow tube guided by X-ray). The catheter is then inserted into the blood vessel through a small incision in the groin and threaded up through the body to the blockage.
- After the balloon is inflated, the stent is expanded.
- The expanded stent compresses the plaque against the arterial wall, increasing the blood flow to the heart muscle.
Some stents release medication slowly over a period of time. This reduces the amount of scar tissue that forms inside the artery, helping to prevent restenosis (re-narrowing).
Vascular and endovascular surgeons at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) are at the forefront of vascular surgical care for patients requiring stent grafts. Our board certified surgeons' experience and collaboration with a multidisciplinary team of specialists enable them to handle the most complicated cases.
With 47,000 outpatient visits each year, the BWH Heart & Vascular Center is one of the largest in the United States, treating over 7,000 inpatients and performing more than 8,000 procedures annually at our state-of-the-art Shapiro Center.
Why Have a Stent Graft?
A stent graft has a lower risk than conventional or open surgery, is generally well tolerated and results in a shorter hospital stay, generally about two days.
What You Should Expect
The BWH Heart & Vascular Center is located in the Shapiro building, across the street from BWH's main 75 Francis Street entrance. The Center brings together the full range of services in one location, fostering seamless and coordinated care for all cardiovascular patients.
If you are having surgery or a procedure, you will likely be scheduled for a visit to the Watkins Clinic in the Shapiro Center for preoperative information and tests.
The day of surgery, your care will be provided by surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses who specialize in vascular surgery. After your procedure, you will go to the post-surgical care unit where you will receive comprehensive care by an experienced surgical and nursing staff.
During your surgery, family and friends can wait in the Shapiro Family Center where staff members will provide surgery updates.
In addition to our vascular surgeons, patients also benefit from the teamwork of medical cardiologists, interventional cardiologists, cardiovascular imaging experts and radiologists, and anesthesiologists, all experts in vascular disorders. They work alongside nurses, physician assistants, physical therapists, dietitians and social workers to achieve outstanding outcomes for our patients.
Vascular and Endovascular Surgery Appointments and Locations
Learn more about stent grafts in our health library.
Read more about atherosclerosis in our health library.
Visit the Kessler Health Education Library in the Bretholtz Center for Patients and Families to access computers and knowledgeable staff.
Access a complete directory of patient and family services.
Learn about the Watkins Clinic in the Shapiro Center for pre-operative information and tests.