Laser angioplasty with Sapphire Contact Probes coupled to a Nd:YAG laser followed by balloon angioplasty was performed in 30 patients with 26 femoropopliteal and 4 iliac artery occlusions. Mean length of the occlusions was 4.5 +/- 1.6 cm with a mean duration of occlusion of 7.06 +/- 6.18 months. Initial angiographic success was obtained in 25/30 (83%) procedures, including 3/4 successes in the iliac artery (75%) and 22/26 successes in the femoropopliteal artery (84%). Reason for failure was perforation in 2 patients, and subintimal passage of the probe in 2, and heavy calcification of the lesion in 1 patient. Early rethrombosis in 3 patients reduced the primary success rate to 73%. Peripheral emboli necessitating surgical intervention occurred in 2 patients. Of the 22 recanalized arteries 21 remained patent with a mean follow-up of 8.4 +/- 3.3 months. It remains to be determined whether the angiographic and clinical short and long term success rate of "laser assisted balloon angioplasty" will be greater than after thrombolysis or conventional balloon angioplasty.