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Carotid Angioplasty

About Carotid Angioplasty
A carotid angioplasty is a minimally invasive technique used to widen a narrowed or obstructed artery. During the procedure, a long, thin tube called a catheter is inserted into the artery. This is used to move instruments through the artery to put the stent in place.

Before Inserting the Catheter

  • The skin in the area of the insertion site is numbed with local anesthetic. A puncture is made in the femoral artery, a major artery in the groin.
  • An introducing sheath (tube) is inserted into the puncture.
  • The catheter is inserted into the sheath. Using X-rays as a guide, the doctor moves the catheter up the aorta, behind the heart and to the carotid artery.

During a Carotid Angioplasty
A filter or other protective device prevents pieces of plaque from being carried into the brain and causing a stroke. The catheter is used to place the unopened filter in the artery and advance it past the narrowed area. The filter is then opened. It remains in place for the whole procedure.

If narrowing is very severe, the artery may need to be widened or opened before the filter is put in place. This is done using balloon angioplasty.

  • A tiny, uninflated balloon is first moved to the area that needs to be widened.
  • The balloon is then inflated, pushing the artery open.
  • After the procedure is done, the balloon is deflated and removed.

Placing the Stent

  • The stent is moved to the site of the plaque.
  • The catheter is then withdrawn, leaving the stent in place.
  • The stent expands until it touches the plaque. Balloon angioplasty is then used to expand the stent fully and widen the artery.
  • The balloon is withdrawn, leaving the stent in place to hold the artery open.

After an Angioplasty
An angiogram is taken and compared to the one that was taken at the beginning of the procedure. Once your doctor is satisfied with the result, the filter and other instruments are withdrawn. The groin insertion site is then closed. Your doctor will also discuss care and follow-up appointments with you. 

Find a cardiologist now, or call 678-312-5000 for a physician referral.