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Carotid Stenosis Repair

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The carotid artery is a large artery on the side of the neck that delivers blood to the brain and when plaque builds on the walls of this artery the condition is called carotid stenosis. Carotid stenosis is a serious condition that can lead to stroke and even death if not managed with medication or surgically improved. Surgery is typically recommended when the carotid arteries are 75% blocked. Carotid stenosis can be surgically repaired with open surgery that physically removes the plaque or minimally invasive techniques that compress the plaque to restore blood flow. 

Carotid endarterectomy is a carotid stenosis repair surgery that is an open surgery. This procedure requires a vascular surgeon to temporarily redirect the blood flow using a plastic shunt. The open artery walls are carefully cleaned of plaque, the shunt is removed and the vein is closed. This is the most common method of carotid stenosis repair and effectively helps patients to avoid stroke.

When a patient is not an acceptable candidate for carotid endarterectomy surgery, carotid artery stenting may be an acceptable alternative. While this is not the most popular carotid stenosis repair surgery, it can be an effective way to restore blood flow to the brain. Carotid artery stenting employs a catheter that is inserted in the groin. This tube is guided to the artery in the neck and a balloon is inflated to compress the fatty tissue blocking the artery. A metal coil is inserted along the compressed plaque wall to prevent the blockage of the artery again. When initially developed this technique increased blood flow but sometimes dislodged debris which could cause stroke, but devices have since been adopted that prevent any such clots or fragments present in the artery from travelling to the brain.

Your vascular surgeon can recommend which option might be best based on plaque location, co-occurring conditions and other risk factors. If you have additional questions about carotid stenosis repair surgery or would like to know if you may be a candidate for this procedure, please contact Cardiac Surgery Associates of Tampa online or by phone at 813.910.0027.