It is a procedure where your surgeon inserts a slender, metal-mesh tube, called a stent, which expands inside your carotid artery to increase blood flow in areas blocked my plaque. Although carotid stenting opens your artery and keeps blood flowing, it does not stop plaque from building up. To prevent hardening of the arteries you should consider the following changes: Eat more foods low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and calories. Exercise regularly. Maintain your ideal body weight. Follow your physicians recommendations for medications to control cholesterol and to thin the blood.