Minimize the Risk of Stroke During Carotid Artery Surgery
Transcarotid Artery Revascularization (TCAR) is a minimally invasive surgical treatment for patients with carotid stenosis, or carotid artery disease. Carotid stenosis is a narrowing or blockage of the carotid arteries. The carotid arteries carry blood and oxygen to the brain, and when blocked it can lead to decreased blood flow to the brain and a possible stroke.
There is always some risk of a stroke occurring when repairing the carotid arteries, so TCAR was developed to help minimize that risk by keeping potential stroke-causing fragments away from the brain.
Carotid Artery Disease as a Cause of Stroke
While there are several causes for stroke, it is estimated that up to a third of cases are caused by carotid artery disease. When plaque builds up in the carotid arteries, they begin to narrow and blood flow slows down, potentially causing a stroke if blood flow stops or plaque fragments dislodge and travel up to the brain. Symptoms of a stroke include:
- Blurred or loss of vision
- Loss of balance
- Memory loss
- Problems with speech and language, including loss of speech
- Weakness in one part of your body
How TCAR Works
The TCAR procedure involves direct access to the carotid artery, but through a much smaller incision at the neckline just above the clavicle instead of a longer incision on the neck that occurs during traditional open surgery. A tube is inserted into the carotid artery and is connected to a system that temporarily directs blood flow away from the brain to protect against dangerous debris reaching the brain during the procedure. The blood is filtered before returning to a vein in the groin, and a stent is implanted directly into the carotid artery to stabilize the plaque and help prevent future strokes.
The entire procedure is performed in less than half the time of traditional open carotid artery surgery, which limits the stress on the heart and significantly cuts the risk of the patient having a stroke or heart attack during the procedure.
Patients who undergo the TCAR procedure typically spend just one night in the hospital and almost always go home the next day to return to full and productive lives with less pain, smaller scars and a reduced risk of future strokes.
Learn more about how the TCAR procedure works in this video:
Individual results may vary. There are risks associated with any surgical procedure. Talk with your doctor about these risks to find out if TCAR is right for you.