September 29, 2021

Best Vertebral Ablation Procedure and Risks

Atherosclerotic vertebral arteries may often go unnoticed due to vague presentation of the symptoms. Some common ones include double vision, nausea, vomiting, trouble swallowing, loss of vision, vertigo, tingling or numbness, dizziness or confusionand slurred speech.

Vertebral artery stenting is an excellent option in patients with symptoms due to reduced blood supply when medical intervention failed to improve the condition.

Let’s understand more about the procedure and how it can help you!

The Procedure

The vertebral arteries pass through the neck to supply the back of the brain. This brain area is responsible for vision, balance, consciousness, and coordination. A blocked artery may alter these functions, the severity of which depends on the extent of the blockage.

Atherosclerosis of the vertebral arteries reduces blood flow to the brain by forming a plaque on the vessel wall. A part of the plaque can break and block the artery, preventing the blood supply to that part of the brain. It may also result in transient ischemic attack (TIA) or stroke.

During the procedure

The vertebral stenting procedure involves the use of a stent in the affected artery. After sedating you, the interventional neuroradiologist introduces a catheter through a hole in the femoral artery.

They will carefully move the catheter up to the area where the block is present. They will now place a stent, a metallic mesh tube, in the affected area to keep the artery open. The stent will permanently remain in the artery, preventing its narrowing.

It is a comparatively small procedure that takes about one or two hours in most cases.

After the procedure

You may be advised to lie down several hours after the procedure to avoid bleeding at the site of catheter insertion. In most cases, you may be discharged from the hospital within 24-48 hours. An MRI of the brain may be done prior to discharge. The doctor may advise limiting physical activity and lifting heavyweight for a few hours after the procedure.

Your doctor may also call you for a follow-up after one month. They may carry out a CT angiogram (CTA) or Doppler ultrasound to understand that the stent is in place and there are no complications.


Some common side effects of the procedure may be:

  • Bleeding at the location of catheter insertion
  • Infection
  • Stroke
  • Injury to the blood vessels at the site of catheter insertion

Some factors that may increase the risk of side effects are:

  • High blood pressure
  • Allergy to the dye used during the procedure
  • Heart murmurs
  • Age above 70 years
  • Abnormal carotid arteries
  • Kidney disorders
  • Atherosclerosis of the aorta near the beginning of the carotid artery

While the incidence of these side effects is rare, the doctor will weigh the benefits and the risk before advising the procedure. They will recommend the procedure only when the benefits outweigh the risks.