Carotid Artery Disease

Vascular Specialists

Vascular Surgeons located in Tinley Park, IL & Evergreen Park, IL

Carotid artery disease greatly increases your risk of stroke. The expert team at Vascular Specialists in Tinley Park, Illinois, and Munster, Indiana, offers several cutting-edge therapies to manage carotid artery disease and reduce your risk of stroke. Call the nearest location or schedule online to learn about minimally-invasive and surgical solutions for carotid artery disease.

Carotid Artery Disease Q & A

What is carotid artery disease?

When plaques clog or block the arteries that deliver blood to your brain, you have carotid artery disease. If the arteries are clogged so much that they prevent blood and the oxygen it carries from reaching your brain, it results in a stroke. When your arteries are narrowed by 70% or more, you’re at great risk of stroke.

Decreased oxygen to your brain means important brain cells begin to die within minutes. Stroke is a serious issue and considered a medical emergency.

Does carotid artery disease cause symptoms?

Carotid artery disease develops over time. You may not realize your arteries are blocked until you have a stroke or a transient ischemic attack, or TIA. A TIA occurs when you have a temporary shortage of blood flow to your brain.

Signs of a TIA include:

  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Temporary loss of coordination
  • Weakness or numbness

One in three people who experience a TIA will have a full-blown stroke within a year, so getting evaluated if you experience one is essential.

How is carotid artery disease treated?

Treatment for carotid artery disease depends on the severity of the disease. The team at Vascular Specialists may recommend either medical management, minimally-invasive procedures, or surgery.

Medical management may include guidance as to lifestyle changes, such as dietary and physical activity changes, weight management, and quitting smoking. Medication to help lower your blood pressure or high cholesterol levels may also be offered.

Other treatments include:

Open surgical techniques

The doctors make a small incision in your neck to get access to the carotid artery. They remove any plaque and close the artery with a patch.

Minimally invasive therapies

The team may also place a stent inside the carotid artery. This procedure requires no incision.

What is TransCarotid Artery Revascularization (TCAR)?

If you’ve been told you don’t qualify for open surgical techniques or stenting due to your personal health risk, you may qualify for TransCarotid Artery Revascularization or TCAR. This procedure is minimally-invasive, results in less nerve damage, lowers your risk of infection, and reduces your risk of stroke and heart attack.

During a TCAR procedure, your Vascular Specialists surgeon makes a small incision just above your collarbone. They then make a puncture into the carotid artery through which is placed a small tube. This tube is then connected to the transcarotid neuro-protection system, or NPS. 

The NPS temporarily directs blood flow away from the brain and captures any plaque debris that dislodges from the artery, preventing it from reaching the brain and causing a stroke. The blood is filtered, a stent placed in the carotid artery, and normal blood flow restored.

The talented surgeons at Vascular Specialists are ready to help lower your risk of stroke if you have carotid artery disease. Call for an appointment or book an evaluation online to learn the treatment that’s best for you.