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Cerebrovascular occlusive disease

Cerebrovascular occlusive disease occurs when plaque accumulates inside the carotid arteries ― the large arteries in the neck that feed the brain. The condition can cause strokes.

The vascular surgery team at UF Health has expertise in diagnosing and treating cerebrovascular occlusive disease. Our fully-accredited vascular laboratory provides detailed ultrasounds of carotid arteries. Each ultrasound is carefully interpreted by our surgeons. For patients who need intervention, our surgeons can perform endovascular (catheter and X-Ray) interventions, as well as standard open surgery.

Services we offer to treat cerebrovascular occlusive disease include:

Angioplasty and stenting

Surgeons perform angioplasty by inserting a catheter with a balloon on the end into the appropriate artery. The cylindrical-shaped balloon is inflated inside the artery at the point where plaque has narrowed the artery. After a few minutes, the balloon is deflated and the plaque inside the artery is left flattened. As a result, the artery opening is enlarged and blood flows more freely.

Sometimes surgeons also insert a stent during this procedure. A stent is a small tube made of metal mesh. It can be placed onto the tip of the balloon and expands when the balloon is inflated. After the catheter and balloon are removed, the stent remains inside the artery to hold it open.

Endarterectomy

This procedure involves removing some of the plaque built up in one of the carotid arteries in an effort to prevent stroke. It usually is performed on patients whose blood flow through this artery is blocked by 70 percent or more. The operation has been tested over time and proven to decrease the rate of future strokes in certain patients. It involves a small incision in the neck and surgical removal of the plaque build-up from the carotid artery.