Medical treatments used to open blocked arteries in the heart have been adapted for use in the brain, and the surgery starts in the leg.
This brain surgery is considered minimally invasive. A catheter goes in through the leg, follows arteries up by the heart, through the neck into the brain. The treatment being used this week on 66-year old Alan Rankin became available only a couple of weeks ago. Rankin had numbness and tingling in the face and other parts of the body … but it didn’t hamper any of his daily activities.
If he’d waited, Rankin was on the path to having a stroke. A doctor’s visit confirmed that he’d experienced mini-strokes. It scared him to death.
The Food and Drug Administration recently approved the Wingspan Stent System being used for the first time at Methodist Hospital. Neuro-radiologist Doctor Richard Klucznik says patients like Rankin had limited options in the past. Klucznik says the brain presents unique challenges for opening clogged arteries.
Don’t expect this procedure to spread to every hospital. While it’s considered minimally invasive, there are risks. Klucznik’s patient, Rankin, has no worries over new technologies and is expected to be back home in time for Thanksgiving dinner with his family.