Carotid Artery Stent

Often known as a carotid angioplasty, a carotid artery stent is a non-surgical procedure that is performed to help open the carotid arteries. These arteries are located on both sides of the neck and supply blood to the brain. When fatty deposits, known as plaque, build up in the carotid arteries, it can cause a blood clot that may stop blood flow to the brain and cause a stroke.

Why a Carotid Artery Stent is Done

Due to the proximity of the carotid artery to the brain, it is integral that plaque buildup is managed. A cardiologist may recommend this procedure if the arteries have narrowed over 50 percent and the patient has experienced a stroke or a temporary blood clot in the brain. Before deciding on whether or not to perform a carotid artery stent, your doctor will assess the patient’s risk of stroke or death as a result of this procedure.

How a Carotid Artery Stent is Performed

This procedure is minimally invasive and does not require general anesthesia. The patient will be awake during the procedure which typically lasts one to two hours. Before the procedure begins, the groin area is shaved and a local anesthetic is used to numb the nerves. Once the procedure begins:

  • Your doctor will insert a small tube into the femoral artery in the groin area. An image-guided tube will eventually reach the carotid artery.
  • Contrast dye is injected into the carotid artery so that your doctor can see any narrow areas in the artery.
  • A balloon is inserted into the narrow area and inflated to push the plaque and widen the area of blood flow. A filter will catch any pieces of plaque that may break off during this process. The balloon will then deflate shortly after.
  • To reinforce the area and prevent the artery from narrowing again, a mesh tube may be placed in the artery.

After The Procedure

Most patients are discharged within 24 hours of completing the procedure. The area where the tube was inserted may be sore and bruised, but that should heal after a few weeks. Most patients will be able to complete daily activities and move about the house, but strenuous activities should not be performed within the first two weeks.

If you have any questions about the procedure or if you would like to make an appointment, please call (201) 475-5050 or fill out our secure appointment request form.