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Instantly healing technology tested on human in Kingsport

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KINGSPORT, Tenn. - New technology that helps the body instantly heal itself was used for the first time worldwide in Kingsport Thursday. A Holston Valley Medical Center surgery team was chosen to perform the new angioplasty procedure.

Interventional cardiologist and Cath Lab director Chris Metzger explained they cleared a blockage in an artery behind the knee. However, rather than use a stent, doctors delivered medicine straight to the area of the blockage, then, as is typical, inflated the artery with a balloon.

"The difference is, within that balloon, there's a light source and that light activates the medicine that we just delivered right at the site where the injury was," Dr. Metzger said. "What the medicine does when activated, it helps the body immediately heal it as we're doing the angioplasty. " Thus negating the need for a stent. He said the site was healed by the time they finished surgery.

The procedure is still in research stages. Dr. Metzger said it may not be commercially available for a few years, but when it is, this area will be one of the first to use it.

He also said the honor is a testament to the world-class team and support from Wellmont Health System leaders.

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