A stent is a tiny, expandable coil that is placed inside a blood vessel at the site of a blockage. The stent is expanded to open up the blockage.
You may have a stent placed in an artery as part of a procedure called angioplasty. Angioplasty restores blood flow through narrowed or blocked arteries. Stents help prevent the arteries from becoming narrowed or blocked again in the months or years after angioplasty.
You also may have a stent placed in a weakened artery to improve blood flow and to help prevent the artery from bursting.
Stents usually are made of metal mesh, but sometimes they're made of fabric. Fabric stents, also called stent grafts, are used in larger arteries.
Some stents are coated with medicines that are slowly and continuously released into the artery. These stents are called drug-eluting stents. The medicines help prevent the artery from becoming blocked again.