Carotid Stent- Minimally Invasive Carotid Stenting Procedure at MGH
A carotid stent is a small, metal mesh tube that, once placed within the blocked artery, acts as a scaffold to keep the artery open. The placement of the carotid stent into the carotid artery is accomplished with the use of a very thin tube called a catheter. The end of this catheter contains a deflated balloon onto which the unexpanded stent has been "loaded." This balloon tipped catheter is inserted, using local anesthesia, into a blood vessel in the groin via a needle puncture. The catheter is then guided up through the vascular system until its tip reaches the blocked point in the carotid artery. No surgical incision is required. Once the stent is positioned within the blocked portion of the artery, the balloon is inflated, expanding the stent in the area. The catheter is removed and the stent remains inside the artery permanently in order to help hold the artery open.
Because the carotid stent is placed into the carotid artery via a catheter, this technique does not require surgery and is considered a significantly less invasive procedure than is carotid endarterectomy. However, because the efficacy and long-term outcome of carotid stenting procedure have not been fully evaluated, it is currently used mainly in patients who are not optimal candidates for carotid endarterectomy and/or who are participating in a clinical trial (research study).
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