An endarterectomy surgically removes diseased material and clogged deposits from the inside of an artery to restore normal blood flow. When the procedure is performed in one or both of the neck's main carotid arteries, it is referred to as a carotid endarterectomy. By keeping blood flow open to the brain, a carotid endarterectomy helps prevent the occurrence or recurrence of stroke.
Ideal candidates for a carotid endarterectomy
A candidate for a carotid endarterectomy may have had a stroke, is at high risk for a stroke, or has significant carotid artery blockage.
Signs and symptoms of carotid stenosis
Carotid artery disease, also known as carotid stenosis, does not always cause symptoms, and the first indicator of a blocked carotid artery might be stroke. Some people do experience warning signs, which typically come in the form of transient ischemic attacks (TIAs).
During a TIA, the following symptoms may be present:
- Loss of vision in one eye
- Slurred speech
- Numbness/loss of control on one side of the body
These symptoms are temporary, and usually disappear within an hour. They should, however, be immediately reported to a medical professional. If the above symptoms last more than a day, they may have been caused by a stroke.
The carotid endarterectomy procedure
Performed under general anesthesia, a carotid endarterectomy begins with an incision in the neck that exposes the narrowed carotid artery. A shunt is put in place to direct blood flow away from the surgical area. The artery is opened, and the plaque removed, usually in one piece. A vein from the leg may be grafted onto the carotid artery in order to widen it. The shunt is removed, and all incisions are closed.
How long is a carotid endarterectomy?
A carotid endarterectomy usually takes an hour, and a hospital stay is usually required.
Risks of a carotid endarterectomy
In addition to the risks inherent in all surgery, risks of carotid endarterectomy include stroke, heart attack, difficulty breathing, high blood pressure, nerve injury, and bleeding in the brain.
Schedule a Consultation
To schedule an appointment with Southern Specialty Physicians Vascular Surgery, please call our office at 334-246-4774. Our practice serves Montgomery, AL and the surrounding areas.