During an angioplasty, a tiny balloon is interested into a blocked blood vessel and inflated to clear up or burst the blockage. The procedure is commonly used to open blocked heart arteries, but its use in clearing blocked head and neck vessels is considerably riskier. Damaging the blood vessel wall during a brain angioplasty could cause a stroke from bleeding in the brain.
To perform the revascularization procedure, the physicians used an imaging technique called digital subtraction angiography to visualize the blood vessels and a guide wire to manoeuvre a balloon-tipped catheter to the location of the blockage in the middle cerebral artery. Once the balloon was inflated, deflated and withdrawn, a stent was inserted to help the artery remain open. Patients with a favourable three-month outcome following the procedure were able to live independently and perform normal daily activities.