Carotid Surgery

The carotid arteries in the neck carry blood from the heart to the brain. Carotid artery disease results from a build-up of plaque that hardens the artery, a condition called atherosclerosis. This blockage can narrow the artery and restrict blood flow, increasing a person’s risk of having a stroke. A piece of the blockage can also break off and lodge in the artery or in a smaller vessel.


IS MY CAROTID ARTERY CLOGGED?

Carotid artery disease does not always cause symptoms. The first alert that you have a blocked carotid artery could be a stroke. However, some people do experience warning signs. These come in the form of transient ischemic attacks, or TIAs.

During a TIA, you may experience a tingling, weakness, numbness or loss of control on one side of your body; loss of vision in one eye; or a slurring of speech. These symptoms are temporary and usually disappear within an hour. Nevertheless, they should be reported to your doctor immediately. If these symptoms last more than a day, you may have had a stroke.


CAROTID SURGERY

Carotid surgery is performed to clear a blockage in the carotid artery and restore blood flow to the brain. Carotid surgery procedures may take the form of an endarterectomy or an angioplasty with stent placement.


WHAT IS CAROTID ENDARTERECTOMY?

An endarterectomy surgically removes diseased material and clogged deposits from the inside of an artery to restore normal blood flow. When the procedure is performed on the carotid artery, it is called a carotid endarterectomy. By keeping blood flow open to the brain, a carotid endarterectomy helps prevent the occurrence or recurrence of stroke.


WHAT IS CAROTID STENTING?

Carotid stenting involves the implantation of a metal mesh tube (a “stent”) to hold a clogged artery open so blood can flow through it unobstructed. The stent is put in place using a technique called balloon angioplasty. A small tube known as a catheter with a tiny balloon on the end is inserted into an artery in the groin, snaked up to the carotid artery, and gently expanded, pushing open the blockage and restoring blood flow. The stent is then put in place to ensure that the artery stays open.

Stenting is a relatively new procedure for carotid disease and is usually only recommended for patients with severe stenosis (blockage) who experience symptoms from the restricted blood flow.


CAROTID SURGERY

Carotid surgery is performed to clear a blockage in the carotid artery and restore blood flow to the brain. Carotid surgery procedures may take the form of an endarterectomy or an angioplasty with stent placement.


WHAT IS CAROTID ENDARTERECTOMY?

An endarterectomy surgically removes diseased material and clogged deposits from the inside of an artery to restore normal blood flow. When the procedure is performed on the carotid artery, it is called a carotid endarterectomy. By keeping blood flow open to the brain, a carotid endarterectomy helps prevent the occurrence or recurrence of stroke.


WHAT IS CAROTID STENTING?

Carotid stenting involves the implantation of a metal mesh tube (a “stent”) to hold a clogged artery open so blood can flow through it unobstructed. The stent is put in place using a technique called balloon angioplasty. A small tube is known as a catheter with a tiny balloon on the end is inserted into an artery in the groin, snaked up to the carotid artery, and gently expanded, pushing open the blockage and restoring blood flow. The stent is then put in place to ensure that the artery stays open. Stenting is a relatively new procedure for carotid disease and is usually only recommended for patients with severe stenosis (blockage) who experience symptoms from the restricted blood flow.

Central arteries transport blood directly from the heart. Peripheral arteries carry blood everywhere else in the body (head, neck, arms, lower abdomen, legs, feet).

Peripheral artery disease (PAD), also known as a peripheral vascular disease (PVD), occurs when peripheral blood vessels are blocked, hardened and narrowed with the plaque in a condition called atherosclerosis. This reduced or blocked blood supply increases a person’s risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

Signs that you may have a peripheral vascular disease are:

  • Leg pain that often occurs when exercising and ceases during rest (called Claudication)
  • Numbness, coldness, change of color or loss of hair in the legs or feet
  • Muscle pain in the thighs or lower legs
  • Paleness, blueness or weak or absent pulse in a limb
  • A change in the way you walk.

Various instruments and tests can detect the presence of vascular disease. These include blood pressure cuffs, Doppler and intravascular (IVUS) ultrasound, angiogram, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and venogram.


Peripheral Artery Disease Treatment

There are several treatment methods for peripheral artery disease (PAD), ranging from life changes (e.g. exercise and diet modifications, quitting smoking, and control of blood pressure) and medications (such as blood thinners and cholesterol-lowering statins) to angioplasty and surgery.


Angioplasty and Stenting

During an angioplasty, a small tube, called a catheter, with a balloon on the end is inserted into the blocked artery and gently expanded. This pushes open the blockage and restores blood flow. The catheter is then removed. A tiny metal cylinder called a stent may be put in place to ensure that the artery stays open.


Atherectomy

Atherectomy refers to a group of angioplasty procedures that remove plaque from the artery walls through minimally invasive procedures that immediately restore proper blood flow to the affected vessels.


Bypass Grafting

This procedure restores circulation by bypassing a blocked vessel that is, re-routing blood around it. A healthy vein is taken from another part of the body and re-attached, or grafted, above and below the blocked section of the diseased artery.


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