What is a wingspan stent?

In people with atherosclerosis, plaque builds up in the arteries of the brain making it difficult for blood to pass through. A Wingspan stent is a tiny mesh tube used to expand the delicate blood vessels of the brain to ensure blood flows easily. The stent may be used to prevent further stroke in patients who have already had one, or in people who've had a stroke in spite of taking blood thinners. It may also be used for people at risk of stroke who've been diagnosed with atherosclerosis.

What to expect from a Wingspan stent procedure

A balloon catheter is guided through the femoral (leg) artery up to the location of the blocked artery in the brain. Once the balloon is expanded to widen the artery, the stent is passed through and positioned within the artery. The stent expands on its own to hold the artery open.

The Wingspan stent procedure is minimally invasive, producing little scarring and bleeding with little down time. Most patients are able to go home the next day and resume normal, moderate activity within a week.

The procedure is not for everyone, particularly people who cannot take blood thinners to prevent blood clots. Your doctor is the best person to assess your condition and help determine if the Wingspan stent is an option for you.

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