What is Endovascular Surgery?
Endovascular surgeries and therapies are procedures in which a catheter is threaded through the arteries in order to treat and diagnose specific diseases in the blood vessels.
There are many arterial and brain conditions for which Dr. Ahuja performs endovascular procedures from his three Wisconsin offices.
How are Endovascular Treatments Performed
Before we get too far into endovascular therapy, it is important to understand a couple of things. An artery is a blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to various parts of the body and supplies oxygen.
Also, the catheter used in endovascular treatments is a very thin plastic tube (less than 2 millimeters in diameter) that is inserted in the femoral artery in the groin, and then advanced to whichever area Dr. Ahuja is treating.
All endovascular treatments are aided by a fluoroscope, which is a special type of x-ray that takes video and allows Dr. Ahuja to see what is going on in the blood vessels as he is performing the procedure.
What Conditions are Treated Endovascularly?
Before an aneurysm can be treated, the location and size need to be determined. Dr. Ahuja can look at how blood flows in the brain using an endovascular technique called cerebral angiography.
Aneurysms can be treated through the procedures endovascular coiling and pipeline embolization. These treatments are often referred to as endovascular neurosurgery.
Aneurysm coiling involves putting flexible platinum coiling into the aneurysm until it curls into a tight ball. Pipeline embolization is a state-of-the-art treatment technique that redirects the flow of blood away from the aneurysm.
Certain tumors have a large amount of blood vessels connected to them. Dr. Ahuja will sometimes perform an angiogram to visualize the network of blood vessels before a surgery.
These blood vessels may then be injected with special glue or particles to reduce bleeding during surgery, called embolization. This glue, also known as Onyx, will cut off blood supply to the tumor and possibly help kill the cancerous cells.
Acute stroke is the term used for a blood clot that cuts off the blood supply to a portion of the brain. An endovascular procedure called intra-arterial thrombolysis can be used to treat acute stroke when the patient is being treated more than 3 hours after the stroke begins. Usually performed during an angiogram, intra-arterial thrombolysis involves administering drugs that break up the blood clot through an IV.
Carotid Artery Occlusion
Carotid artery occlusion refers to the complete blockage of one of the carotid arteries that take blood to the brain. Depending on the location and nature of the blockage, various types of endovascular treatment can be used. These include carotid artery stent placement, carotid surgery, and transcatheter embolization. See our Carotid Stenosis and Arterial Disease page for more information.