Carotid arteries are two arteries that supply blood to the brain, situated one on each side of the neck. Due to deposition of fat in these arteries, they might narrow down causing a condition known as plaque. Sometimes, the plaque also causes blood clot which obstructs the flow of blood to the brain. This might also result in stroke or severe brain damage.
Carotid artery stening (CAS), also known as carotid angioplasty and stening is a procedure used to combat this problem. It is used to restore the size of the affected artery and aid in its proper functioning. In this procedure, a catheter along with a stent is inserted and the targeted artery is reached. The catheter is usually dyed to locate it while making its way to the carotid artery through X-ray images. Once reached, a balloon that is placed inside the catheter, is inflated making the stent to grow in size and push through the walls of the artery. After that the balloon is deflated and removed along with the catheter leaving the stent inside the artery. With time, the artery regains its normal size permanently with the support of the stent. As a result, the flow of blood gets improved, the walls of the artery is prevented from collapsing and also, the breaking off of small pieces of plaque is also avoided.
CAS usually takes about 1-2 hours but a stay in the hospital for 1-2 days is usually needed. A lump or bruise is usually observed post-surgery but it is considered normal. However, few risks of CAS include infection, bleeding and damage of blood vessel. In certain cases, it might also lead to stroke, heart attack or even death. Post-surgery, intake of healthy diet, regular exercise and avoiding smoking is recommended as a preventive measure to avoid the side effects of surgery which would lead to a longer and healthier life.
Disclaimer: The information given in this write-up is purely for educating the reader. It is not meant to be a substitute for any advice from a medical expert.