Angioplasty is a surgical stenting procedure, wherein a balloon is used to open up narrowed or blocked blood vessels within the brain.

How is Carotid Angioplasty Performed?

During the procedure:

  1. A surgeon inserts a small balloon catheter into an artery, either in the arm or the groyne.
  2. This catheter is then manoeuvred to a narrowing within the brain's artery.
  3. A small balloon is then inserted and inflated to expand the narrowed section of the artery.The entire procedure typically lasts 1 to 2 hours. Even though the patient remains conscious, local anaesthesia is administered and pain medication is provided if necessary.

Reasons for Undergoing Carotid Angioplasty:

Carotid Angioplasty is usually recommended for:

  • Stroke treatment or prevention.
  • Significant blockage within the carotid artery.
  • Past stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) instances.
  • Recurrence of arterial blockage.
  • Surgical ineligibility due to physical reasons.
  • When blockage is hard to tackle through other surgeries or procedures.

Risks & Complications

Every surgical procedure comes with its own risks. For Carotid Angioplasty, these might include:

  • Anesthesia-related complications.
  • Bleeding at the catheter insertion site.
  • Stroke or its recurrence.
  • Allergic reactions to chemicals utilised.
  • Infections.

Moreover, the cause of blockages often links back to lifestyle choices or conditions such as diabetes or hypertension. While angioplasty addresses blockage symptoms, it doesn't treat the root cause. Hence, without lifestyle changes or co-morbidity treatment, blockages might recur. However, risks can be minimized by strictly adhering to pre and post-procedure instructions from the physician.

Alternatives to Carotid Angioplasty:

If angioplasty isn't feasible or doesn't yield the expected results, a procedure known as carotid endarterectomy (CEA) might be considered.

Who Can Undergo Carotid Angioplasty?

Eligibility for this procedure varies. The doctor will assess the severity of the blockage and the patient's medical background to decide if this procedure is the right fit.