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Carotid Artery Stenting

Carotid artery stenting is an alternative to carotid endarterectomy in patients with symptomatic or asymptomatic carotid artery disease, and it may be safer than carotid endarterectomy in patients with severe cardiac or pulmonary disease. Depending on the risk to a patient, one or the other procedure will be preferred. Using this minimally invasive procedure, the goal is to reduce the risk of stroke.

How the Procedure is Performed

This procedure is performed to open a narrowed artery, clogged with plague and reducing oxygen and blood flow to the affected area of the body. It involves using a catheter to place a stent, which is a small, expandable tube into the narrowed artery. Dye is used to help the carotid artery show up on imaging. This helps your vascular surgeon find the narrowed part of the artery. 

The surgeon moves a balloon and the stent into the carotid artery. The balloon is placed inside the stent and blown up. This opens the stent and pushes it into place against the artery wall. The balloon is then deflated and removed, leaving the stent in place. Over time, the cells lining the blood vessel will grow through and around the stent to help hold it permanently in place.

What to Expect After the Procedure

The procedure typically takes an hour or two. You may stay in the hospital for one to two days. Once you are home, you can move about, but you shouldn't do any strenuous exercise until it is approved by your surgeon, which could take one to two weeks, depending on your recovery. There may be some slight pain and bruising at the location of catheter placement, and this will heal over time.