To keep your cells healthy and functioning, a network of blood vessels circulates blood throughout your body to deliver oxygen and remove waste. Arteries carry blood full of oxygen and nutrients to every corner of your body. Once the blood releases its vital payload, it returns to the heart through the veins to prepare for recirculation.
A variety of conditions can affect your vascular health, and some may require surgery, including:
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm—a bulge that occurs in a weak area in the wall of the aorta, the body’s main artery
- Carotid artery disease—plaque formation in the arteries that carry blood to the brain, which can cause blockages or blood clots that may lead to a stroke
- Peripheral artery disease (PAD)—accumulation of plaque that can lead to blockages in arteries outside of the heart, such as those in the legs
- Varicose veins—a condition in which veins, typically in the legs, swell when dysfunctional valves allow blood to pool in them
Vascular Surgery at Altru
Altru is home to a team of vascular care doctors who specialize in the care of patients with vascular disease. Altru vascular surgeons perform noninvasive diagnostic tests that can detect the presence of vascular conditions, some of which may not cause symptoms. Surgical and nonsurgical treatment options are available.
Altru vascular surgeons perform a variety of surgeries to treat vascular disease by improving blood flow. These procedures include endovascular surgery, which is a category of minimally invasive procedures to treat PAD and abdominal aortic aneurysm, and vascular leg surgery to treat PAD and varicose veins. If minimally invasive surgery isn’t appropriate for you, open surgery may be an option.
Carotid Endarterectomy (CEA) and Transcarotid Artery Revascularization (TCAR)
Altru vascular surgeons also offer two surgical options to treat carotid artery disease: carotid endarterectomy (CEA) and transcarotid artery revascularization (TCAR).
You may need to undergo CEA if you have a major blockage in one of the two carotid arteries in your neck that supply blood to the brain. That kind of blockage could cause a stroke. During CEA, a vascular surgeon removes plaque from the artery through an incision in the side of your neck.
If you are considered high risk for CEA due to your age or other health problems, you may be able to undergo TCAR, which is a less invasive option.
What Is TCAR?
TCAR is a minimally invasive procedure that helps reduce the risk of a stroke by removing the loose plaque from your blood, which could cause a stroke. During TCAR, a small tube called a stent is also placed to prevent additional plaque from breaking free.
How Does TCAR Work?
- The vascular surgeon will make a small incision just above your collarbone and place a tube in the carotid artery.
- Once connected to a filtering system, the tube reverses blood away from the brain, and the system removes loose plaque that could cause a stroke.
- Free of plaque, the blood reenters the body through a tube in your upper leg.
- The surgeon places a stent in the carotid artery to press any remaining plaque against the artery wall and prevent pieces from detaching.
- With the stent in place, the surgeon restores normal blood flow through the artery.
What Are the Benefits of TCAR?
Both CEA and TCAR can reduce your risk of stroke, but TCAR offers additional benefits, including:
- A smaller incision
- A shorter operation
- A shorter hospital stay
- A faster recovery
Schedule an appointment with a vascular surgeon through MyChart. For more information, call 701.780.6400 for Vascular Medicine or 701.780.6427 for Vascular Surgery.