The carotid artery is a major artery in the neck that carries blood to the brain. Carotid angioplasty is used to open a narrowed artery to allow more blood to flow through to help prevent stroke. Stents are used to prop an artery open after angioplasty. A stent is a wire mesh tube that is collapsed into a small diameter, put over a balloon catheter and moved into the area of blockage. When the balloon is inflated, the stent expands and locks in place, holding the artery open. The stent stays in the artery permanently to prop it open and improve blood flow.