Endarterectomy is a surgical procedure to remove plaque buildup from the carotid arteries, located in the neck. This common vascular surgical procedure is performed in patients at significant risk of stroke.
What Is Endarterectomy?
The carotid arteries are the main arteries in the neck that supply blood to the head. When these arteries become clogged with plaque and blood flow is restricted, an endarterectomy may be recommended. This procedure removes the built-up deposits and reduces the risk of a stroke.
Why Have an Endarterectomy?
An endarterectomy may be recommended if you have significant blockage—70 percent or more—in your carotid arteries and you are considered to be at risk for a stroke. This state of disease is called carotid artery disease, and it is caused by atherosclerosis.
What to Expect During Endarterectomy
Preparing for Your Procedure
Prior to your endarterectomy, you’ll meet with your physician to discuss your medical history, medications you take and any questions you have.
Tests before an endarterectomy may include angiography, magnetic resonance arteriography and duplex ultrasound.
You are given medication before this surgical procedure, either to put you to sleep or to numb your neck area while you remain awake. Your neck is cleaned and shaved as a precaution to prevent infection.
During Your Procedure
Your physician makes an incision in your neck and opens your blocked carotid artery. The built-up plaque in the artery is removed, and your artery and neck are closed.
After Your Procedure
After an endarterectomy, you spend one or two nights in the hospital. Your neck may hurt and you may have difficulty swallowing.
After you return home, your physician will likely recommend you refrain from heavy lifting and vigorous activity for several weeks. You will likely be advised to not return to work for one month after this procedure.