A carotid endarterectomy (say "kuh-RAW-tid en-dar-tuh-REK-tuh-mee") is done to remove fatty buildup (plaque) from one of the carotid arteries. There are two of these arteries. One runs along each side of the neck. They supply blood to your brain. When plaque builds up in either one, it can make it hard for blood to flow to the brain. This surgery may lower your risk of stroke.
The doctor will make a cut (incision) in your neck. Then the doctor will make a cut in the carotid artery and take out the plaque.
Next, the doctor will close the cut in the artery with stitches. Or the doctor may sew a man-made patch over this cut. This will make the artery wider. It also helps keep it from getting narrow again. Then the doctor will use stitches to close the cut in your skin. It will leave a scar. But the scar will fade with time.
You will probably go home the day after surgery. You may be able to go back to work or your usual activities in 1 to 2 weeks.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
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Current as of: September 21, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology
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