Treatment of Carotid Artery Stenosis
The goal in treating carotid artery disease is to prevent a stroke. The treatment approach used depends on how blocked the artery is. At Yale Vascular Surgery, our surgeons and specialists can help you with your carotid artery disease, from managing mild blockages to surgically treating advanced narrowing.
Should you require surgery, our surgeons will review your surgical plan with you, in detail, so that you know what to expect before, during, and after the surgery.
Mild to Moderate Blockage
When you have mild to moderate blockage of your arteries, the following are generally recommended to manage your disease:
- Make lifestyle changes to reduce stress on the arteries and slow the progression of atherosclerosis.
- Manage chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
- Use anticoagulant medications to reduce the chance of developing a blood clot.
When you have severe blockage of your arteries, or if you have experienced a TIA or stroke, surgery is the best way to remove the blockage. The two most common procedures are a carotid endarterectomy and a carotid angioplasty and stent.
A carotid endarterectomy is a procedure used to remove plaque buildup on the artery walls. This procedure may be done under local or general anesthesia. The surgeon opens the affected artery to remove the plaque buildup and then repairs the artery with a stitch or graft.
Carotid Angioplasty and Stent
Depending on your overall health or where the blockage of the artery is located, a carotid angioplasty or stenting may be necessary. This procedure, done under local anesthesia, uses a tiny balloon threaded by a catheter. The catheter brings the balloon to the area of narrowing and is then inflated to widen the artery so that a small stent can be placed to keep the artery from narrowing again.