The carotid arteries run along the sides of the neck and supply the brain with oxygenated blood. When these arteries become clogged with fatty material called plaque, less blood can get to the brain. This can result in a stroke. One way to improve blood flow through the carotid arteries is by placing a stent in them. A stent is a wire mesh tube that stays in the artery to keep the plaque out of the way and keep the artery open.
Carotid artery stent placement usually is a minimally invasive procedure. A catheter is inserted through a tiny incision in the groin, then threaded to the carotid artery. A balloon-type device is used to push the plaque against the walls of the artery and out of the way of blood flow. A stent is then put in place to permanently keep the artery open.