Overview

Carotid angioplasty (kuh-ROT-id AN-jee-o-plas-tee) and stenting are procedures that open clogged arteries to restore blood flow to the brain. They're often performed to treat or prevent stroke.

The carotid arteries are located on each side of your neck. These are the main arteries supplying blood to your brain. They can be clogged with fatty deposits (plaque) that slow or block blood flow to the brain — a condition known as carotid artery disease — which can lead to a stroke.

The procedure involves temporarily inserting and inflating a tiny balloon into the clogged artery to widen the area so that blood can flow freely to your brain.

Carotid angioplasty is often combined with another procedure called stenting. Stenting involves placing a small metal coil (stent) in the clogged artery. The stent helps prop the artery open and decreases the chance of it narrowing again. Carotid angioplasty and stenting may be used when traditional carotid surgery (carotid endarterectomy) isn't possible, or it's too risky.

Carotid angioplasty and stenting care at Mayo Clinic