This is a keyhole approach to widening the blockage in the carotid artery in the neck. Blockage of this artery reduces circulation to the brain, causing strokes or warning strokes (transient ischaemic attack or TIA). Traditionally a surgical approach is used, in which a vascular surgeon makes an incision over the diseased artery, and manually excise the diseased cholesterol build-up from the inside of the artery.
The stent technique involves insertion of a metallic stent (like a chicken wire mesh) into the artery, stretching the stent wide open with a balloon thereby compressing the cholesterol plaque and widening the lumen to allow improved blood flow.
In recent years, this technique has fallen out of favour compared to the traditional operation, however recent studies indicated that this technique may not be as dangerous as once thought.