How Does TCAR Work?
In an operating room, a vascular surgeon makes a tiny incision just above your collarbone. Then, the doctor inserts a soft tube that carries a tiny stent (metal-mesh device) to the site of a blockage. The stent keeps the artery open so that blood can flow freely through it to your brain.
During the procedure, TCAR technology temporarily reverses the blood flow so any pieces of fat that break off won’t travel to your brain and cause a stroke. Your blood flow will return to normal after treatment.
TCAR vs. Other Carotid Artery Procedures
TCAR is a newer hybrid of two common treatments for carotid artery disease:
- Carotid angioplasty and stenting – Inserts a stent through a blood vessel in your groin and then threads it up to the carotid artery in your neck
- Carotid endarterectomy – Surgically removes plaque through a long incision
TCAR uses a shorter incision than surgery and doesn’t require your doctor to push the stent as far through your body as angioplasty does. Compared to those procedures, TCAR leads to:
- Faster recovery
- Less time in the operating room and the hospital
- Less scarring after treatment
- Lower risk of stroke during and after the procedure
Do I Need TCAR?
Your doctor may recommend TCAR if:
- Your carotid artery is narrowed by more than 50 percent
- Surgery (carotid endarterectomy) is too risky because of your age, anatomy or overall health
Talk to Your Doctor
Ask your doctor for a referral to AnMed Vascular Surgery after a diagnosis of carotid artery disease. We’ll help you determine if TCAR is your best treatment option.
How to Prepare for TCAR
Before your procedure, you may need to:
- Get blood tests and/or carotid artery ultrasound
- Take aspirin and cholesterol-lowering medications
- Stop eating and drinking the previous night
Follow your instructions carefully to make sure treatment goes smoothly and safely.
Recovery After TCAR
You’ll likely stay in the hospital for just one night. Before you go home, your surgeon may tell you to:
- Avoid heavy lifting and other physical activities for at least a week
- Take prescription medications to prevent blood clots
- Eat a healthy diet and exercise to prevent more fat from building up in your carotid arteries
- Stop smoking
We’ll also schedule a follow-up ultrasound to check for any narrowing in the treated artery.