Carotid Artery Angioplasty and Stenting
For some patients, direct surgical repair via a carotid endarterectomy is not a good option because of the location of the stenosis (narrowing), or the patient's overall health may make surgery too risky.
Carotid angioplasty and stenting, a relatively new procedure, shows promise in the treatment of carotid artery disease for patients who may not be healthy enough to undergo surgery. Patients with severe heart or lung disease, those who have had neck operations or radiation for neck tumors, and those who have already had carotid endarterectomies may not be candidates for surgery.
Carotid angioplasty, or balloon angioplasty, is used to open the carotid artery narrowed by carotid artery disease. A long, thin flexible tube called a catheter with an inflatable tip is inserted into an artery in the groin. Guided by X-ray and a contrast dye, the catheter is threaded to the site of the narrowed carotid artery. Once in place, the tip is inflated and pushes the plaque against the artery walls.
A stent is placed after the angioplasty is performed. The stent is permanent and provides support for the artery to remain open.