UR Medicine is helping prevent life-threatening strokes with a minimally invasive technique to open blocked carotid arteries.
Vascular surgeons were first in the region to offer transcarotid artery revascularization, or TCAR. This technique is relatively new and the team has completed more than 100 procedures, which is the most in the state.
“This procedure provides the advantages of placing a stent to treat blockages in the carotid artery with greater ease and reduced risk of complication for our patients,” said Michael Stoner, M.D., chief of Vascular Surgery. “We are able to place the stent through a small incision at the base of the neck, which reduces the risk of a catheter causing inadvertent damage to the artery.”
A key to success is the temporary reversal of blood flow during the direct procedure, which limits the possibility of a clot causing a stroke. The TCAR procedure also offers shorter hospital stays and quicker recovery time.
Each year, about 800,000 people suffer a stroke in the United States and more than 140,000 people die each year. Stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability in the nation.
Honeoye Falls resident Richard Haviland suffered a stroke last year, and he considers himself lucky to have made a full recovery. However, he wanted to prevent another stroke and learned about the TCAR procedure offered at UR Medicine’s Strong Memorial Hospital.
“I felt a real relief when I had the first side done, and then we did the other side,” said Haviland, 80. He and his wife, Joan, have five children and six grandchildren.
UR Medicine’s team performs the procedure in Strong Memorial Hospital’s state-of-the-art, endovascular hybrid operating room, which features advanced imaging technology and is equipped for traditional surgery.
This therapy is an FDA-approved alternative to carotid endarterectomy and femoral carotid artery stenting to treat blockages in the artery. Studies have shown TCAR is safer than carotid stents delivered through the femoral artery in the leg.
As an early adopter of the TCAR procedure, UR Medicine vascular surgeons have been using this technique since 2015. The Medical Center is one of the top 20 sites in the nation for the use of TCAR.
The Vascular Surgery team has been involved in refining the technique to improve safety and effectiveness. Their techniques are now being taught around the country and world.