PURPOSE: To evaluate the feasibility of a self-expanding stent for acute embolic occlusion, and recanalization mechanism by histologic examination. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Five mongrel dogs were used as study subjects. Each vertebral artery was occluded, and a self-expanding stent was used for recanalization. We evaluated the technical success rate for the placement of the stent to the targeted vessel, the recanalization rate, and residual stenosis. We obtained two specimens of the stented vertebral arteries for histologic evaluation. RESULTS: One dog died of an unknown cause during the induction of anesthesia. In two dogs, only one side of the vertebral artery was used, whereas both vertebral arteries were used in the remaining dogs. A total of six vertebral arteries were successfully occluded. The technical success rate for stenting without complication was 66.7%. The immediate recanalization rate after stenting was 100%. The residual stenosis was 35.6 +/- 18.6%. On microscopic examination, the stent concentrically displaced the clot and the clot was captured between the stent mesh and arterial wall. CONCLUSION: Self-expanding stents were effective in revascularizing the cerebrovascular embolic occlusion. The self-expanding stent seemed to achieve recanalization by pushing the clot to the arterial wall and capturing the clot between the stent mesh and arterial wall.