What surgeries are done for a stroke?

Please note that there are two types of stroke, as you can learn here. The information here applies to the kind of stroke caused by obstruction of a blood vessel. In medical terms, this is called an “Infarct”.

Frequently, a few hours or days after a hemorrhagic stroke, the pressure inside the head increases tremendously. If the pressure inside the brain is increased, a surgery might be urgently needed to relieve this pressure.

Such a surgery is done to save the patient’s life. It is not meant to improve the patients weakness, rather it is meant to prevent death due to very high pressure.
There are two main surgeries that can be done: One part of the skull may be removed to make SPACE (“Craniotomy”), or a small tube may be inserted into the brain to drain water out from the brain (“EVD”)

Craniotomy and EVD may need to be done urgently to save the patients life.

Preventing future strokes is very important. To do this, surgeries to remove obstructions in blood vessels or the heart may be needed.

  1. Heart Surgery: If your heart has a hole, or one of your heart valves is diseased then you may need surgery to fix these problems. But, very, very few people require heart surgery after a stroke.
  2. Carotid artery surgery (more common). As I said, these are the large arteries in the neck that go from the heart to the brain. If these are narrow, then two kinds of surgeries can be done to open them up: “stenting” or “carotid endarterectomy”. A stent is a small tube made out of a wire mesh (See picture). This stent can be inserted into the carotid arteries to open them up. In Carotid Endarterectomy, one of the the carotid arteries is directly opened up, and all the junk inside that is blocking it is removed.

Heart surgery, carotid artery stenting and carotid endarterectomy are all names of surgeries that are done to prevent strokes in the future.