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