What Are The Carotid Arteries?
The two carotid arteries provide vital blood supplies to the brain, which makes them critically important to your vascular health. These arteries reside just under the muscles on either side of the neck, and can be prone to a buildup of plaque that creates thickening of the vessel lining and blockages, thereby putting the patient at high risk for a stroke.
Carotid Artery Testing
Screening for such issues in the carotid is typically a straightforward and painless process using duplex ultrasound examinations. The Vascular Lab at VSA provides thorough carotid ultrasound examinations with state-of-the-art equipment operated by certified operators. Our surgeons have extensive training and experience in the techniques for assessment and surgical repair of the carotid arteries.
Treatment for Carotid Arteries
If a significant blockage in the carotid artery is discovered, our doctors will help you develop a treatment plan specifically for you. Your comprehensive treatment plan will include recommendations for the best vein treatments or vein surgery for your condition as well as regular follow-up appointments after your treatment. Your plan may also include prescriptions, plaque removal surgery, or stent placement surgery depending on your condition.
TransCarotid Artery Revascularization (TCAR)
VSA physicians have performed more TCAR procedures than any other group in Central Virginia. TCAR provides stroke protection and prevention during minimally invasive revascularization surgery. TCAR is also unique as it minimizes additional risks associated with traditional revascularization surgery, while also providing the highest level of stroke protection.
How Does TCAR Work?
During surgery, the TCAR device is connected to the carotid artery and then reverses blood flow away from the brain. This is done so any pieces of plaque that break loose during the operation will not flow into the brain. Additionally, any plaque that does break off of the arterial walls is filtered out before the blood returns to its natural flow.
Carotid Artery Disease Symptoms
Carotid artery disease may go undiscovered for a long time before you notice any symptoms. When the plaque build-up becomes enough to deprive the brain of blood and oxygen, the symptoms are sudden and may include:
- Sudden weakness in the arm or leg on one side of the body
- Sudden clumsiness with an arm or leg on one side of the body
- Paralysis or loss of function on one side of the body
- Trouble speaking
- Sudden brain fog
- Slurred speech
- Inability to balance
- Loss of physical coordination
- Sudden loss of concentration
- Rapid-onset headache with no explanation
- Losing feeling on one side of the body
- Temporary blurred vision or blindness
- Loss of consciousness (fainting)