Carotid angiography is an invasive procedure that is used to identify any plaque buildup in the arteries of the neck supplying the brain called carotid arteries. The physician inserts a hollow tube into the artery most likely in the groin area leading to the carotid arteries. The contrast injections are given through the hollow tubes and are visualized on a big x-ray machine. By watching the contrast flow with the blood through the arteries the physician can identify any narrowing in the vessels. Most patients have little or no discomfort but some may report flushing and distastefulness that is transient, due to the dye injections, and goes away quickly. Dr. Bokhari performs these procedures on a regular basis.
For patients who have significant buildup in the carotid arteries and are deemed not to be good candidates for highly invasive open surgery, minimally invasive carotid stenting can be performed safely and very effectively.
During carotid angiography, the physician places a protection device beyond the blockage or plaque buildup and then after balloonangioplasty a metallic scaffold called extent is deployed that keeps the artery open. The patient will have to take aspirin and another blood thinner before and after the procedure for up to a month at least. Most recent data suggests that open surgery and carotid stenting are equal to each other.