Surgical Treatments for the Prevention of Strokes
Surgeons at Baptist Health Lexington offer conventional as well as minimally invasive procedures to treat carotid blockages and conventional procedures to treat brain aneurysms.
Carotid endarterectomy is surgical procedure performed on patients with atheroslerosis affecting the carotid arteries. The carotid arteries, located in the neck, supply blood to the brain. Atherosclerosis, a condition commonly affecting men and women over age 50, occurs when the lining of these arteries becomes rough and thickened by a buildup of plaque and fat. Decreased blood flow to the brain is one of the causes of stroke.
During the operation, the surgeon makes a small cut in the neck to expose the carotid artery. Using delicate surgical instruments, the surgeon removes the plaque from the artery.
A 1991 trial conducted by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders found that carotid endarterectomy reduced the five-year risk of stroke by 50 percent among people with cartotid atherosclerosis who had no apparent symptoms.
Baptist Health Lexington offers a new, minimally-invasive alternative to carotid endarterectomy for some patients with carotid atherosclerosis. This investigational procedure uses a highly-flexible, stainless steel, mesh tube called a stent to hold the carotid artery permanently open and allow for normal blood flow.
The stent is implanted using a non-surgical technique. During the procedure, the surgeon inserts the delivery system into a small incision in the right groin. When it reaches the narrowed area of the carotid artery, the stent is positioned and released. The stent provides immediate relief by restoring blood circulation to the brain.
Carotid stenting is offered as an option for patients whose arteries have become reblocked after a previous carotid endarterectomy and to those who may not be medically fit for surgery. Depending on the patient's individual health condition, the procedure may be done on an outpatient basis. Patients with more extensive disease may require an overnight stay. Most inpatients go home within 24 hours.
Repairing Brain Aneurysms
Aneurysms form when pressure of the blood flow through an artery causes a weakened arterial wall to balloon out. Although aneurysms can occur in almost any artery in the body, one of the most common sites is in the brain. These are called intracranial aneurysms. What makes aneurysms dangerous is the fact that they can rupture, causing fatal and/or severe brain damage due to hemorrhagic stroke.
Conventional surgery for repairing brain aneurysms requires cutting open the skull, locating the aneurysm and clipping it off so blood can no longer flow through it.