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During carotid angioplasty (also called carotid artery stenting), a small, expandable tube called a stent is permanently inserted into the carotid artery.
To insert the stent, the doctor uses another tube called a catheter. The doctor inserts the catheter into a large artery—most often the femoral artery in the groin—and threads it through other arteries to the carotid artery.
A very thin guide wire is inside the catheter. The guide wire is used to move a balloon and the stent into the carotid artery. The balloon is placed inside the stent and inflated. This opens the stent and pushes it into place against the artery wall. The balloon is then deflated and removed, leaving the stent in place. After time, the cells lining the blood vessel will grow through and around the stent to help hold it in place.
Last Revised: January 3, 2013
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Karin M. Lindholm, DO - Neurology
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