Blockages in the blood vessels are caused by build up of cholesterol and calcium. This build up is called plaque. Plaque can be pushed to the side by a balloon and can be kept to the side with a wire mesh called a stent. It can also be removed.
Newer technologies allow removal of plaque in different ways from the blood vessels of the legs and arms. The plaque may be cut into small particles akin to a roto-rooter. The small particles are either suctioned out of the body or allowed to flow down with the blood to be cleared by the body. Another mechanism uses blades to shave and remove the plaque.