Carotid Artery Surgery

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Carotid Artery Surgery

Carotid arteries are located on either side of the neck & provides oxygen rich blood to the brain.

In carotid artery disease, plaque builds up in the carotid arteries which restricts the blood flow which can cut off blood flow to the brain and cause a stroke.

The surgery of carotid arteries to remove blockages is known as Carotid Artery Endarterectomy.

Indications of Carotid Artery Endarterectomy

  • Stroke
  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA)
  • Severe blockage of carotid artery

Investigations done before Carotid Artery Endarterectomy

Carotid Ultrasound

In Carotid Ultrasound, pictures of carotid artery are created by using sound waves.

Carotid angiography

In Carotid angiography, a dye is used along with X-ray to highlight the artery.


In Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), pictures of carotid artery are created by using magnetic and radio waves.

Computed tomography angiography

In Computed tomography angiography, a 3D picture of the arteries with the help of X-ray.

Carotid Artery Endarterectomy Procedure

Before the procedure

  • If the patient smokes, then do not smoke at least 2 weeks before your surgery.
  • Do not eat or drink after midnight the night before surgery.

During the procedure

General or local anaesthesia is administered to the patient so that he/she do not feel pain during the surgery. The patient lies on the back with the head turned to one side, the side where the artery is blocked faces up. The surgeon makes an incision on the neck over the carotid artery. A catheter, a flexible tube, is inserted into the artery & blood flows through the catheter around the blocked area during surgery. The carotid artery is opened & the plaque is removed.

Once the plaque is removed the artery is close & blood now flows through the artery to the brain.

After the procedure

  • The patient may have neck ache that may last for up to 2 weeks after the surgery.
  • Strenuous physical activities are avoided for about 1 week.
  • Follow the exercise & diet plan advised by the doctor.
  • Other lifestyle changes includes quitting smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, and controlling the blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Risk Factors of carotid artery endarterectomy

  • Stroke
  • Heart attack.
  • Swelling at the incisional site
  • Bleeding into the brain
  • Seizures


What percent of carotid artery blockage requires surgery?

  • When the carotid artery is 70 percent or more blocked, carotid artery endarterectomy is recommended.

What is the success rate of carotid artery surgery?

  • Carotid endarterectomy surgery can reduce the risk of stroke by up to 80 percent.

How long does it take to recover from carotid artery surgery?

How long does carotid artery endarterectomy last?

  • Carotid artery endarterectomy takes about 1 to 2 hours.

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