More than eight million Americans are affected by peripheral arterial disease (PAD). In patients with PAD, obstructing plaques caused by atherosclerosis commonly occur in the aorta and iliac arteries. When these large blood vessels become blocked, the lower extremities can become starved of blood. In serious cases, amputation may be necessary. In the past, bypass surgery has been the solution, but newer, less-invasive procedures are becoming available. A study in the July issue of the Journal of Vascular Surgery found that endovascular interventions using catheter-based devices to re-open peripheral arteries are being used much more commonly now and that their success rates are proving to be especially effective. "Endovascular techniques are vastly different from traditional, open surgery," says Christopher T. Bajzer, MD, FACC, associate director of Vascular Intervention in the Department of Cardiovascular Medicines, Sections of Vascular Medicine and Interventional Cardiology at Cleveland Clinic. According to Dr. Bajzer, traditional surgery for pelvic arterial blockages include aortic-to-iliac bypass surgery and femoral-to-femoral bypass surgery. Bypass surgery is invasive and can cause serious complications.