Carotid Artery Surgery Restores Blood Flow To The Brain, Preventing Stroke
Carotid artery surgery performed by the vascular surgeons at The Vein and Vascular Institute of Tampa Bay offers quick recovery time because it can be performed using the most advanced minimally-invasive surgical techniques, such as balloon angioplasty and stenting.
Applying the revolutionary TCAR (TransCarotid Artery Revascularization) procedure offers our patients the safest and most effective carotid artery disease treatment available anywhere.
With over 130,000 unexpected deaths caused by carotid artery blockage (carotid artery disease), our Tampa vascular surgeons recommend getting treatment as soon as carotid artery blockage has reached a dangerous level because carotid artery disease can become fatal.
What Causes Carotid Artery Disease?
Carotid artery disease is caused by plaque build-up that is made up of cholesterol, calcium and fibrous tissue in the neck (carotid) artery.
As the accumulation of plaque in the carotid artery increases with time, the blood flow to the brain becomes restricted. This restriction of blood flow to the brain is what eventually leads to a stroke.
Having a stroke can unexpectedly take your life or leave you severely disabled.
Carotid Artery Blockage Treatment
Depending on the extent of the blockage discovered in the carotid artery, your doctor might simply recommend lifestyle adjustments, medication, minimally-invasive procedures or, as a last resort, carotid endarterectomy.
If a little narrowing is discovered, but does not pose an immediate risk our Tampa vascular surgeons may recommend that the patient stick to a healthy diet, follow a formal exercise plan, and stop smoking, if they smoke. Depending on the individual and their overall health, medication may be prescribed to keep the disease under control and prevent it from progressing.
If a patient has diabetes or high blood pressure and has also been diagnosed with carotid artery disease, the diabetes and high blood pressure must be brought under control, since they are contributing factors to the disease and may cause it progress more quickly.
If after following all the recommendations of our vascular doctors to stop the progression of the disease, the carotid artery blockage continues to worsen, or if the blockage has reached a dangerous level, minimally-invasive procedures such as balloon angioplasty and stent deployment can be performed to improve blood flow through the carotid artery.
Balloon angioplasty is a type of carotid artery blockage treatment where a balloon catheter is used to widen the narrowed or obstructed artery. During stent deployment (carotid stenting) a wire mesh tube, or stent is placed inside the narrowed artery to keep the artery open for improved blood flow.
TransCarotid Artery Revascularization (TCAR)
Using the revolutionary TransCarotid Artery Revascularization (TCAR) procedure, our board certified vascular surgeons offer the most advanced and safest carotid artery disease treatment available anywhere.
What is TransCarotid Artery Revascularization (TCAR)?
During the TCAR procedure, a tube inserted into the carotid artery is connected to a system that temporarily directs blood flow away from the brain to protect against dangerous debris from reaching the brain during the procedure. Any small bits of plaque that may break off during the procedure are diverted away from the brain, preventing a stroke from happening.
Surgeons then filter the blood before returning it to a vein in the groin, and a stent is implanted directly into the carotid artery to stabilize the plaque and prevent future strokes.
How is TCAR better for patients?
TCAR has a very low procedural stroke rate. It is also less invasive than open surgery, so there’s less chance for surgical complications like heart attacks, infection and nerve injury. TCAR patients also recover quickly and almost always go home the next day with less pain and smaller scars.
Who should be considered for the TCAR procedure?
TCAR is recommended for patients who are considered high risk for traditional surgery due to age, anatomic issues and other medical conditions. A physician will determine if the TCAR procedure is right for a patient on a case-by-case basis based on his/her medical history and workup.
What happens during a TCAR procedure?
A small incision is made at the base of the neck, just above the collarbone. A puncture is made into the carotid artery and a small tube is placed inside the artery, which is connected to the system that temporarily directs blood flow away from the brain and captures any dangerous debris that dislodges from the artery. The blood is then filtered and returned to a vein through a second tube placed in the groin. While the brain is protected during this temporary flow reversal, a stent is placed in the carotid artery to stabilize the plaque and is intended to help prevent against future stroke. The blood flow is then returned to normal and the system is removed.
The entire procedure usually takes less than an hour. Patients can be either asleep or awake during the TCAR procedure and patients are typically held overnight for observation.
Carotid Endarterectomy (CEA)
If your vascular surgeon determines that less invasive procedures are not an option, a carotid endarterectomy (CEA) may be performed. During a CEA plaque is actually scraped away and removed from the blocked carotid artery through a small incision in the skin. CEA is a traditional, open surgery.
The Board Certified Vascular Surgeons at The Vein and Vascular Institute of Tampa Bay have helped thousands of patients suffering from carotid artery disease, reducing their risk of having a stroke. Our vascular surgeons are experts in carotid artery surgery and they are of the few vascular surgeons in Tampa who have hospital staff privileges at major hospitals such as St. Joseph’s Hospital.
In our Nationally Accredited Vascular Laboratory, we offer state-of-the-art therapies and we are equipped with the most advanced ultrasound equipment for diagnostic and therapeutic interventions. Our mission is to always provide compassionate and individualized care to all our patients.
If you live in the Tampa, Florida area and you think that you are at high risk for carotid artery disease, or if you have experienced any of its symptoms, please do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with us for a consultation.
A simple vascular screening can be performed in our office to see whether or not you have developed blockage in your carotid artery and if you are in danger of having a stroke.
Give us a call today at (813) 377-2773 to schedule a vascular consultation with one of our board certified vascular surgeons.