SARASOTA – Sarasota Memorial Hospital is among the first of Florida hospitals to offer this procedure. It’s a less invasive treatment for high risk patients with plaque buildup in their carotid arteries.

TransCarotid Artery Revascularization. A big word for less invasive surgery.

“For many years the standard of surgery for people that have a bad blockage, is to open up the neck, clean out the blockage, sew the artery back together again,” says Sarasota Memorial Hospital Vascular Surgeon, Russell Samson.

It sounds simple, but Dr. Samson says it can cause nerve damage and even a heart attack. Another option, threading a stent from the groin up through the heart, carries risk.

“There’s nothing to protect a piece of blockage breaking loose while we’re putting in the stent that can also go to the brain and cause a stroke,” says Samson.

But now, Samson is working with a new device he says will revolutionize stenting and surgery.

“We make a tiny little incision at the bottom of the neck and we put the stent in directly through the neck so we avoid all the manipulation through the heart,” says Samson. “What is especially unique, is that while we’re doing this, the technology allows us to stop the blood flow going up through the brain and make the blood flow come down out of the brain.”

This will send any stray pieces of plaque to a vein in the groin. The major benefits are a less invasive surgery, a lower risk for stroke, and a quick recovery.

The first procedure was done three weeks ago at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. The patient was discharged in less than 24 hours.

“We think this procedure is going to replace 80–90 percent of stents from the groin and maybe 60–70 percent of open surgery to the neck,” says Samson. But it’s not for everyone.

“Any patient who’s had a blockage that’s caused a mini stroke, or a stroke in which they’ve recovered, or any patient that’s got a blockage greater than 80 to 90 percent,” Samson says, qualify for the procedure.

The first procedure took an hour and 20 minutes, but Samson hopes to drop that time to 45 minutes.