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Carotid Artery Disease

Vascular Surgery Associates, LLC

Vascular Surgery, Wound Care, and Podiatry located throughout Maryland

Carotid artery disease seldom causes symptoms, yet it’s responsible for 10% of strokes. The board-certified physicians at Vascular Surgery Associates, LLC, specialize in today’s most advanced treatments to clear away carotid artery blockages before they cause future strokes. To learn more about your risk factors or to get expert medical care, book an appointment online today or call one of the offices in Bel Air, Baltimore, Towson, Westminster, Elkton, Frederick, Ellicott City, Hampstead, Abingdon, Columbia, Lutherville, Severna Park, MD, Wilmington, and Newark, DE.

On Friday, August 19, 2022, the VSA surgical team completed their 100th TCAR procedure at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center. They are leaders in successfully performing this less invasive method of clearing blocked carotid arteries.


Carotid Artery Disease Q & A

What causes carotid artery disease?

Carotid artery disease occurs when cholesterol and other fats buildup in one of the carotid arteries, creating plaque that progressively enlarges and hardens. As the plaque gets larger, it interferes with the blood flowing to your brain, putting you at risk for a stroke.

What symptoms develop if I have carotid artery disease?

Most people with carotid artery disease don’t have any symptoms. The first sign of a problem often occurs when you have a transient ischemic attack (TIA), also called a “mini-stroke”  or a stroke.

During a stroke, blood flow to the brain stops, resulting in brain damage. If you have a TIA, the blockage resolves on its own and doesn’t last long. As a result, TIAs seldom cause permanent damage.

Strokes and TIAs cause the same symptoms, but they’re so mild during a TIA that you may not notice any problems. The symptoms include:

  • Weakness or numbness on one side of your face or body
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Difficulty understanding others
  • Changes in vision in one or both eyes
  • Sudden, severe headache
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of balance

If you recognize the signs of a TIA, it’s vital to schedule an evaluation at Vascular Surgery Associates, LLC. They can determine if you had a TIA and start treatment to prevent a future stroke.

How is carotid artery disease treated? 

Treatment for a small blockage may start with lifestyle changes and medications. If you have a moderate to severe blockage, or if you suffered a stroke or TIA, your provider at Vascular Surgery Associates, LLC, recommends one of the following procedures: 

Carotid endarterectomy

Your provider performs surgery to remove the plaque and then uses a graft or specialized patch to close the artery. 

Carotid stenting

During this minimally invasive procedure, your provider guides a catheter through your blood vessels to the blockage. 

After putting a temporary filter in the artery to stop pieces of the plaque from reaching your brain, they deploy a balloon that pushes the plaque against the vessel wall. Then they insert a mesh stent that stays in place to keep the artery open. 

Transcarotid artery revascularization (TCAR)

This procedure uses an advanced system that temporarily reverses blood flow to prevent any of the plaque from traveling into your brain. Your provider removes the plaque, implants a stent, and then restores normal blood flow. Click to learn more about TCAR.

If you need treatment for carotid artery disease, call Vascular Surgery Associates, LLC, or book an appointment online today.