Interventional radiologists use angioplasty and stenting as a minimally invasive alternative to surgery.
Commonly used in all parts of the body, including head and neck, coronary and renal arteries, it has a higher success rate with fewer risks associated than open surgery.
Like other interventional procedures, angioplasty involves the insertion of a catheter via an artery in the groin to the point of the occlusion. A small balloon is deployed at the site of narrowing to disrupt the plaque and widen the artery to improve blood flow. These procedures are often accompanied by the placement of a stent, which is a small metallic mesh tube that holds the artery open to maintain blood flow.
In highly selected cases, carotid and intracranial stenting usually takes about 1-2 hours. When stenting the carotid artery, a small basket or filter called an embolic protection device is inserted. This device helps to prevent strokes by catching the debris that may break away from the plaque during the procedure.
After the procedure:
Immediately after the procedure, pressure is applied to the catheter insertion site in the groin or arm for 10 to 20 minutes to allow it to seal and prevent bleeding.
Sometimes a special closure device is used. You may be instructed to stay in bed for several hours after the angiogram to be monitored for any complications such as bleeding from the puncture site.
On your return home, it is advisable not to lift anything heavy for a few days, to avoid any pressure on the incision and to drink plenty of water to help flush the dye out of your system.
You may also be instructed not to take a bath for a few days, though showers are fine.