Stroke

Itay Melamed, MD -  - Neurosurgeon

Advanced Brain & Spine

Itay Melamed, MD

Neurosurgeon located in Centennial, CO & Wheat Ridge, CO

Stroke Specialist
A stroke is a medical emergency that occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is either interrupted or significantly reduced. Without oxygen or nutrients, the affected brain cells begin to die within minutes. At Advanced Brain & Spine in Centennial and Wheat Ridge, Colorado, board-certified neurosurgeon Dr. Itay Melamed specializes treating stroke patients as well as preventing strokes for patients with carotid artery disease. If you’re in the Denver area and you want to learn more, call the nearest office location or book your appointment online today.

Stroke Q&A

by Itay Melamed, MD

What causes a stroke?

There are two main types of stroke that can affect the blood supply to your brain.

Ischemic stroke

Approximately 85% of all strokes are ischemic, meaning they’re caused by a blocked or narrowed artery. A thrombotic stroke is one type of ischemic stroke; it occurs when a blood clot forms in one of the arteries that supplies your brain with oxygen-rich blood. An embolic stroke, which is also a type of ischemic stroke, occurs when a blood clot that formed elsewhere moves through your bloodstream and gets lodged in a brain artery.

Hemorrhagic stroke

This less common type of stroke occurs when a blood vessel in your brain leaks or bursts. Uncontrolled high blood pressure or weak spots on blood vessel walls are just two of the many possible causes of a hemorrhagic stroke. An intracerebral hemorrhage is a hemorrhagic stroke that takes place inside your brain, while a subarachnoid hemorrhage occurs on or near the surface of your brain.

What are the signs of a stroke?

If you notice signs of a stroke in yourself or someone else, prompt medical treatment is crucial. In addition to being life-saving, early intervention also helps minimize brain damage and potential post-stroke complications. Common stroke symptoms include:

  • Paralysis or numbness of the face, an arm, or a leg
  • A sudden, severe headache that may be accompanied by dizziness
  • Confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech
  • Blurred or blackened vision in one or both eyes; double vision
  • A loss of balance and coordination that makes walking difficult

What is carotid stenosis?

Carotid arteries are the main blood vessels in your neck that supply your head and brain with blood. Carotid stenosis, also known as carotid artery disease, involves the narrowing of these vital arteries. It’s usually caused by atherosclerosis, or the buildup of plaque, along the inside of arterial walls.

Having too much plaque in your carotid arteries can substantially increase your risk of having a stroke: Approximately 700,000 people suffer from strokes each year, and roughly one-third of those are caused by carotid stenosis.

That’s because plaque buildup in your carotid arteries doesn’t simply reduce the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your brain; it can cause small clots to form, break off, and travel to your brain, resulting in a minor or major stroke.

What does treatment involve?

Acute stroke treatment generally involves dissolving the blood clot that’s causing an ischemic stroke, or stopping the bleeding of a hemorrhagic stroke.  

Dr. Melamed also provides a complete range of effective surgical treatment options to help prevent strokes or reduce the likelihood of repeated strokes in patients who have severe carotid stenosis.

A carotid endarterectomy allows Dr. Melamed to access the affected artery through a small incision, remove the plaque, and repair the artery. For blockages that are too difficult to reach surgically, carotid stenting techniques can help keep the arteries open.

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