Transcarotid artery revascularization (TCAR) is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat carotid artery disease. The arteries are major blood vessels in the neck that supply blood to the brain. When they become narrowed or blocked due to a buildup of plaque, it can increase the risk of stroke. During a TCAR procedure, a small incision is made in the neck to access the carotid artery. A tube called a sheath is inserted into the artery and connected to a system that temporarily reverses blood flow, redirecting it away from the brain. This is done to prevent any plaque or debris from traveling to the brain during the procedure. Once the blood flow is reversed, a flexible wire is then used to navigate a stent (a mesh tube) to the site of the blockage. The stent is designed to expand and restore blood flow through. The stent also has a filter built into it, which catches any loose plaque or debris, preventing it from reaching the brain. After the stent is in place, blood flow is restored to its normal direction, and the incision in the neck is closed. The TCAR procedure typically takes about an hour to complete. TCAR offers several advantages over traditional, such as a smaller incision, less scarring, reduced risk of nerve injury, and a shorter recovery time. It is generally considered safe for patients who are considered high risk for open surgery. It is important to note that TCAR is not suitable for all patients with carotid artery disease. The eligibility for this procedure is determined by a thorough evaluation and consultation with a vascular specialist or surgeon.
Some of the benefits of TCAR include:
1. Safer alternative: TCAR was developed as a safer alternative to traditional carotid artery surgeries like Transcarotid carotid endarterectomy (CEA) and carotid artery stenting (CAS). It minimizes the risk of complications such as stroke, nerve damage, and heart attack.
2. Reduced stroke risk: TCAR involves temporarily reversing blood flow in the carotid artery, allowing any dislodged debris or blood clots to be captured and filtered before returning to normal blood flow. This lowers the risk of stroke during the procedure.
3. Minimally invasive: TCAR is a minimally invasive procedure compared to CEA. It involves a small incision near the collarbone, making it less traumatic and reducing the recovery time. It also decreases the risk of complications, such as bleeding and infection.
4. Faster recovery: Due to its minimally invasive nature, TCAR generally allows for a faster recovery time compared to CEA. Patients often experience less pain and discomfort, and can typically resume normal activities within a shorter period.
5. High success rates: TCAR has shown high success rates in treating carotid artery disease. Studies have demonstrated that TCAR is associated with low rates of stroke, heart attack, and other complications, making it an effective treatment option.
It's important to note that TCAR may not be suitable for everyone, and eligibility for the procedure depends on various factors specific to each patient. It is always recommended to consult with a medical professional to determine the best treatment plan for your individual case.