You have an artery on each side of your neck called the carotid artery. This artery brings needed blood to your brain and face.
The blood flow in this artery can become partly or totally blocked by fatty material called plaque. A partial blockage is called carotid artery stenosis (narrowing). A blockage in your carotid artery can reduce the blood supply to your brain. A stroke can occur if your brain does not get enough blood.
There are two invasive ways to treat a carotid artery that is narrowed or blocked. One is surgery called
Carotid angioplasty and stenting (CAS) is done through a much smaller incision, by pushing instruments into your arteries:
- Your surgeon will make a surgical cut in your groin after using some numbing medicine. You will also be given medicine to relax you.
- Your surgeon will insert a catheter (a flexible tube) through the cut into an artery. The doctor will carefully guide the catheter up to your neck to the blockage in your carotid artery.
- Your surgeon will use live x-ray pictures to see your artery. This kind of x-ray is called fluoroscopy.
- Next your surgeon will pass a guide wire through the catheter to the blockage. Another catheter with a very small balloon on the end will be pushed over the guide wire and into the blockage. Then the balloon will be blown up. The balloon presses against the inside wall of your artery. This opens the artery and restores proper blood flow to your brain.
- A stent (a wire mesh tube) may also be placed in the blocked area. The stent is inserted at the same time as the balloon catheter. It expands when the balloon is blown up. The stent is left in place to help keep the artery open. The surgeon then removes the balloon.
Carotid angioplasty and stenting; CAS; Angioplasty - carotid artery
Narrowing or blockage of your carotid arteries increases the risk that you may have a stroke. Carotid angioplasty and stenting is one of several treatments for this blockage.
There are several ways your doctor may know you have narrowing or blockage in your carotid artery. Two common ones are:
Review Date: 07/10/2010
Reviewed By: Luc Jasmin, MD, PhD, Department of Neurosurgery, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, and Department of Anatomy, University of California, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.