Carotid StentingCarotid stenting is performed to widen a narrowed carotid artery in the neck.
The carotid arteries run along both sides of the neck and supply vital, oxygen-rich blood to the face, scalp and brain. When one of these arteries is narrowed due to plaque build-up, blood flow decreases and stroke may occur. Carotid stenting is a surgical technique that is used to widen a partially blocked artery and allow adequate blood flow to the brain, thereby reducing the risk of stroke.
Tampa General Hospital’s Heart & Vascular Institute is a well-established leader in vascular surgery, including carotid artery stenting and angioplasty procedures. In partnership with the University of South Florida, our board-certified vascular specialists achieve world-class outcomes for patients with complex cardiovascular conditions. Additionally, TGH is equipped with a state-of-the-art ultrasound vascular laboratory that is accredited in five specialty testing areas by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC).
Conditions TreatedCarotid stenting is a main form of treatment for severe carotid artery stenosis, which refers to a narrowing in one or both carotid arteries that can lead to stroke. The hardening of these arteries that occurs when plaque accumulates is known as atherosclerosis, which is recognized as the cause of carotid artery stenosis.
Carotid stenting is usually performed alongside an angioplasty procedure. A carotid stenting and angioplasty procedure generally involves:
- Inserting a long, flexible tube with a tiny deflated balloon attached to the end (catheter) into a small incision in the groin area
- Carefully threading the catheter up the blood vessel to reach the carotid artery
- Gently inflating the deflated balloon near the narrowed part of the artery to improve blood flow to the brain
- Placing a mesh tube—called a stent—in the inflated area to help keep it open
- Deflating the balloon and removing the catheter from the body
What to Expect
Any procedure that involves a major blood vessel comes with risk. Possible complications of carotid stenting include:
- Damage to the artery
- Allergic reaction
- Heavy bleeding
- Kidney damage
Still, failing to address a significantly narrowed carotid artery comes with an even greater risk than surgery. Carotid stenting is a minimally invasive procedure that doesn’t involve large incisions and general anesthesia isn’t typically necessary—most patients receive a local anesthetic and a sedative to numb any discomfort during surgery.
Carotid stenting can be a life-saving procedure for patients at high risk of stroke. While it’s not appropriate for every patient, carotid stenting is often a viable treatment option for adults who:
- Are younger than 80
- Have a life expectancy of at least two years
- Have normal blood pressure
- Have tried other, less invasive carotid artery stenosis treatments without success