LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)– A procedure to safely treat carotid artery disease is now being performed in a local hospital. Dr. Ankur Lodha with the Cardiovascular Institute of the South says there are two ways to treat this heart disease. The procedure he suggests is preferred over the other.

Carotid Artery Disease is the diagnosis for blocked arteries in the heart. These blockages can cause stokes.

The standard procedure to treat Carotid Artery Disease is called a CEA. CEA involves an incision made above the collar bone, exposing the artery to remove plaque build up caused by the disease. Dr. Lodha says this procedure leaves a very visible scar on the neck and carries the risk of surgical complications.

To decrease the risk of complications and less scarring, Dr. Lodha recommends Transcarotid Artery Revascularization, commonly known as TCAR. Along with it’s less invasive approach, the TCAR procedure is more advanced. During the procedure, the patient’s blood flow is temporarily reversed to ensure no plaque gets to the brain.

Although blood reversal may sound concerning, Dr. Lodha assured News 10 that there is no need to worry.

“It is not damaging to the brain because we have other arteries also working. It only reverses for 5-10 minutes which is not harmful,” he said.

After the reversal, a stent is placed inside the artery to stabilize the plaque. Not only is there a smaller scar, but TCAR proves to have the lowest stroke risk among all clinically proven trials.