The carotid arteries pump blood from the heart to the brain and can become narrowed by plaque. Stents help keep the carotid arteries open after they’re widened with angioplasty. During the angioplasty procedure, a carotid stent (a small, metal mesh tube) is placed inside the carotid artery at the site of the blockage, keeping the artery open. The stent stays in place permanently and acts as a scaffold to support the artery. After several weeks, the artery heals around the stent.