Carotid Endarterectomy

Carotid Endarterectomy

The major blood supply to the brain travels through a pair of arteries on each side of the neck called the carotid arteries. When plaque forms in the arteries, the blood flow is blocked and increases the risk of a clot. Doctors can surgically clean out the arteries in a procedure called carotid endarterectomy.

Studies done by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) showed the surgery is highly beneficial for people who have already had a stroke, have had symptoms of stroke, or have a severe blockage.

During the surgery, an incision is made in the neck of the patients and the artery is opened, cleared and closed. Sometimes, the artery needs a piece of a vein from another part of the body (usually the leg) to make the repair. The operation is considered very safe, but there are is always a risk of complications including bleeding, infection or scarring.

As an option to surgery, you doctors may recommend angioplasty and stenting. Similar to the angioplasty done for heart, in involves threading a catheter through the arteries, using a balloon to open it, then placing a stent to keep the artery open.