The Methodist Neurological Institute in the US state of Texas has started offering patients a novel procedure that helps reduce acute stroke damage by extending the stroke treatment window from three hours to 24.

The procedure involves implanting a miniature neurostimulator near the sphenopalatine ganglion, a nerve located in the roof of the patient’s mouth, within 24 hours of the onset of acute ischemic stroke.

The minimally invasive procedure takes less than 30 minutes and is performed under local anaesthesia, Methodist Health said.

A transmitter pioneered by Brainsgate is placed on the patient’s cheek near the implanted device for electrical stimulation, for several hours a day over a five-day period, and then removed from the patient’s mouth.

The neurostimulation dilates arteries so that more blood flow is delivered to the stroke-affected hemisphere of the brain.