TransCarotid Artery Revascularization

ThinkstockPhotos-470639529.jpgEastern Maine Medical Center is the first and only hospital in northern New England to offer TransCarotid Artery Revascularization, or TCAR, a minimally invasive procedure for patients with carotid artery disease. 
Carotid artery disease occurs when there’s a buildup of fatty substances and cholesterol deposits called plaque, which result in the narrowing of the carotid arteries. Over time the buildup decreases blood flow to the brain and increases the risk of stroke.
TCAR is a less invasive alternative to a carotid endarterectomy (CEA), the procedure that is most commonly used to treat severe carotid artery disease. CEA starts with a three to four inch incision at the front of the neck, where TCAR gains direct access to the common carotid artery through a much smaller incision above the collarbone, allowing just enough room to place a sheath into the artery and place a stent. The stent is then inserted in the artery to open and stabilize the narrowing and help protect patients from future stroke risk. 

Throughout the procedure, blood flow is temporarily reversed in the carotid artery to divert dangerous debris away from the brain, preventing a procedural stroke.