Atherectomy: A procedure to remove plaque (atheroma) from the inside of a blood vessel. Atherectomy is done most often in major arteries, such as the coronary, carotid, and vertebral arteries, that have experienced the occlusive effects of atherosclerosis. Atherectomy may be accomplished by various means, including angioplasty, laser surgery, conventional surgical incision, or use of a small drill-tipped catheter. In the US, atherectomy is nicknamed the 'Rotorooter' procedure, after a company that cleans out drainage pipes.
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Last Editorial Review: 1/24/2017