Athens Regional Health System

Carotid Endarterectomy

A carotid endarterectomy is an operation during which the inner lining of the carotid artery is removed. The carotid arteries are on each side of the neck and extend from the aorta in the chest and enter the base of the skull.

A carotid endarterectomy is necessary once the artery has become thickened or damaged.

The surgeon will make an incision on one side of the neck to expose a blocked artery and will then clamp down the carotid artery to stop the blood flow.

Once the artery is clamped, the surgeon will make an incision directly into the blocked section and peel out the plaque deposit by removing the inner lining of the artery. Sometimes, a patch is used to widen artery using your own veins. The procedure lasts about two hours, and patients may remain in the hospital for up to two days.

Patients should contact their doctors immediately if they notice changes in brain function, severe headaches or neck swelling. They also should avoid driving and limit physical activity for several weeks.

A diet low in saturated fat, cholesterol and calories is recommended, as regular exercise, not smoking and maintaining an ideal body weight.

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