Skip to Content

Carotid Angioplasty and Stenting Guidelines and Procedures

UPMC Content 3

Carotid angioplasty is a type of endovascular surgery to reopen a blockage of the carotid artery in the neck.

Such blockages can cause a devastating stroke or increase the risk of stroke, because the carotid artery supplies the brain with much of its blood supply.

UPMC Neurosurgeons can also perform carotid angioplasty on blockages in the vertebral artery that threaten blood supply to the spinal cord.

How Carotid Angioplasty and Stenting Work

In carotid angioplasty:

  • A neurosurgeon uses a microcatheter — a long tube tipped with miniature instruments — to reach the site of blockage.
  • Once the catheter reaches the site of the blockage, a miniature balloon reopens the carotid artery.
  • The doctor also may insert a stent — a kind of meshwork collar — to help hold the artery open.