Vascular surgeons at the University of Miami Health use carotid artery angioplasty and stenting to open up clogged arteries to improve blood flow to the brain. There is a carotid artery on each side of the neck, and they are the main arteries that supply blood to the brain. Sometimes, the one or both carotid arteries can become clogged with plaque (fatty deposits) that block blood flow the brain. Stroke can result from this reduced blood flow.
If you have suffered from a stroke or are at risk for suffering from a stroke, your heart specialist may recommend you undergo angioplasty with stenting. You may also be a candidate for these procedures if you have undergone surgery to widen a narrowed blood vessel due to carotid endarterectomy, and you are now experiencing new narrowing (stenosis).
What to Expect
Before undergoing these procedures, your vascular surgeon will likely order one or more imaging tests – such as ultrasound, magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), computerized tomography angiography (CTA), or carotid angiography – so he or she can obtain a clear image of the blockage. Your surgeon will also provide you with instructions on whether you can eat or drink prior to the procedure, and if you need to make any adjustments to your regular medication schedule.
You will be under general anesthesia (fully asleep) for these procedures. Once you are asleep, your surgeon begins by making a small incision in the groin area. Using X-ray guidance, the surgeon threads a catheter (thin, narrow tube) with a balloon tip through the blood vessels and to the blocked area of the carotid artery. The surgeon will inject contrast dye through the catheter, which helps him or her obtain a detailed view of the narrowed or blocked artery. The surgeon then inflates the tiny balloon at the end of the catheter to open up the artery. A small metal or mesh tube (stent) is placed in the artery to keep it open. The catheter and balloon are removed out of the original incision, and the wound is closed.
Most people need to stay overnight one night in the hospital after undergoing carotid artery angiography with stenting. You should make arrangements for a responsible adult to drive you home the following day, due to the possible lingering effects of the anesthesia and sedative.
Why Choose UHealth?
Leading-edge imaging care in South Florida. Our doctors are also researchers discovering new ways to improve diagnosis and treatment. That means you can get some of today’s most promising advancements through clinical trials. You benefit from the latest developments that are fast-tracked from the lab to the bedside.
Advanced, hard-to-find procedures. Our doctors are committed to caring for every patient. That’s why they offer the latest treatments, including limb salvage, endovascular grafting and thoracic outlet decompression, to improve your blood flow.
All the care you need, from one physician. Our vascular surgeons perform a wide range of procedures so you can have the same physician for any vascular care you need as your condition changes. Whether you need a stent replaced or a vein grafted, you can always turn to the doctor you trust.
Experienced doctors, reliable results. UHealth vascular surgeons perform hundreds of stent placements, angiograms and more every year. You can rely on their experience to help you avoid complications and have a positive outcome.