Balloon Test Occlusion

The brains main blood supply comes from 4 main blood vessels including two vertebral arteries in the back of the neck and two carotid arteries in the front of the neck. Treatment of some neurosurgical conditions requires blocking or tying off one of these blood vessels. However, blocking one of these blood vessels has a potential to cause a stroke. Physicians can determine if a stroke might occur before proceeding with surgery by doing a Balloon Test Occlusion (BTO). BTO is when a small, soft balloon is inflated in the artery wall blocking the blood flow through that specific blood vessel. If the other blood vessels in the neck are insufficient in supplying blood to the whole brain, a stroke could develop. If however, the cerebral blood flow is maintained, then the option for surgery is more likely.