How much do you know about a life-changing stroke surgery?

According to the National Stroke Association, not only do almost 800,000 people here in the U.S. suffer a new or recurring stroke every year, but strokes are also the nation's fifth leading cause of death. Consider also that strokes are currently the leading cause of disability among U.S. adults.

As disconcerting as all this is, it's important to know that significant advances have been made in the treatment of strokes. Indeed, consider how effective a certain surgical procedure has proven to be.

What surgical procedure are you referencing?

The surgical procedure in question is known as stent retriever thrombectomy or endovascular surgery.

What does it entail?

After a blood clot is detected in the brain via an advanced imaging scan, physicians will place a catheter with a stent tip into an artery in the groin and thread it through the body to the site in the brain.

Once there, the stent, comprised of mesh-like material, will open and ensnare the clot. As the catheter is retracted, pieces of the blood clot will be drawn out and blood flow will be restored.

How successful is the stent retriever thrombectomy?

Multiple studies have demonstrated just how effective the procedure can be. For example, a study conducted in Spain found that stroke patients who underwent a stent retriever thrombectomy were nearly twice as likely to secure a level of function close to independent living.

Another study, conducted in part at the University of Pittsburgh, determined that stroke patients who underwent a stent retriever thrombectomy within six hours of their diagnosis saw better functional recovery and lower disability after 90 days.

While it's encouraging to see such remarkable progress being made in treating stroke patients, it's also equally encouraging to know that those who suffer a disability because of a stroke may be able to secure financial assistance to help them get through these difficult times.