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Overview

Carotid endarterectomies are used to treat carotid artery disease. Buildup of plaque (atherosclerosis) leads to pieces of the plaque traveling to the brain and causing a stroke or mini stroke. Removing plaque causing the narrowing in the artery can improve blood flow in your carotid artery and reduce risk of stroke.

As an traditional vascular procedure, an incision is made along the front of the neck in a carotid endarterectomy. Opening the artery, a surgeon removes the plaques clogging it before repairing it with stitches or a patch made with a vein or artificial material (usually a patch graft).

Who is a candidate?

Those experiencing carotid artery disease may be good candidates for a carotid endarterectomy. Surgery may be needed if:

  • Your carotid arteries are severely narrowed, even without symptoms
  • Your arteries have moderate to severe narrowing with stroke or mini stroke symptoms
  • Failure of nonsurgical treatment like medications and lifestyle changes

What to expect

For a carotid endarterectomy, the patient will be given a numbing medication or general anesthesia. One of our surgeons will make a cut along the front of the neck, open the carotid artery, and remove the plaque deposits clogging it. Then the surgeon will repair the artery with stitches or a patch made with a vein or artificial material. However, another technique that involves cutting the carotid artery and turning it inside out to remove the plaque might be used.

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