"Minimally invasive treatment using a stent-graft to repair the carotid artery aneurysm (CAA) has become a useful strategy to treat patients with this condition," said Dr. Peter Lin, Associate Professor of Vascular Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine, one of the study authors. "Compared to the open neck operation, we found that the stent-graft approach resulted in less neck nerve injury and faster recovery."
An aneurysm is a ballooning of an artery, resulting from weakening or stretching of the vessel wall. The carotid artery, which is the main blood vessel in the neck, supplies most of the blood flow to the brain. When an aneurysm occurs in the carotid artery, it can get bigger over time, leading to devastating problems such as stroke or rupture of the aneurysm. A CAA can occur after trauma, infection, or previous surgery of the carotid artery.
The researchers compared the results of CAA repair in two eras: 1985 to 1994, when 22 patients were treated by open neck surgery; and 1995 to 2004, when 14 of 20 patients were treated by minimally invasive endovascular procedures such as stent-graft placement. In the stent-graft procedure, the vascular surgeon makes a small incision in the groin to thread a catheter through the patient's arteries. Once the catheter reaches the carotid artery, a small device called a stent-graft is placed inside the aneurysm. The graft is then expanded and fixed in place to repair the aneurysm.
Both approaches had a high success rate, but stent-graft placement offered some important advantages over surgery. Because it doesn't require any incision in the neck, patients undergoing the stent-graft procedure had much
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