The carotid arteries are located on either side of your neck. They are essential arteries for providing blood flow to the large, frontal part of the brain. However, arteries can collect plaque due to an excess build-up of fatty acids within the artery wall, causing the arteries to narrow. If such a condition occurs, it is referred to as atherosclerosis and can block the blood flow, preventing oxygen from reaching the brain and potentially leading to a stroke. If the plaque begins restricting the blood flow, a carotid endarterectomy is recommended to clear the blockage. Arizona Premier Surgery specializes in carotid endarterectomies, which involves small incisions being made in the carotid arteries, allowing the surgeon to carefully remove the plaque and permit the blood to flow smoothly from the carotid arteries to the brain.
Common Reasons for Surgery
Atherosclerosis simply refers to a condition where the arteries are hardened. The most common cause of atherosclerosis is associated with the accumulation of fat or other harmful materials along the wall of the carotid arteries, usually associated with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or excessive tobacco use.
Clots within the carotid arteries can occur from ruptured plaques that leak proteins and cholesterol into the arteries and bloodstream, causing blockage within the wall of the artery and ultimately leading to a clot.
Inflammation in the carotid arteries can occur as a result of certain diseases such as lupus or arthritis. It can also be caused by infections, leading to inflamed carotid arteries that are unable to allow blood to travel properly to the brain.
About Carotid Endarterectomy
A carotid endarterectomy is a surgical procedure that relieves the blockage within the carotid artery. Performed by a skilled surgeon, the procedure involves administering a local or general anesthetic prior to the operation, followed by precise incisions along the carotid arteries, where the surgeon will then enter the arteries and remove the plaque, making it free from obstruction. The carotid arteries are then sutured or patched with a graft and the blood flow is restored.
What to Expect
A patient who obtains a standard carotid endarterectomy can expect to receive a general or local anesthetic during the 2-hour procedure. After the procedure, soreness of the neck and throat is normal and a soft diet may be recommended for a few days following the surgery. Patients can be expected to be released from the hospital within 1 – 2 days. Most patient need 2 weeks for their recovery before resuming normal activities. Adding exercise can be discussed at the patient's follow-up appointment, 4 – 6 weeks after their surgery.
Plan Your Procedure
- Recovery Time
- 2 Weeks
- Average Procedure Time
- 2 Hours
- Post-op Follow-up
- 4 - 6 Weeks
- Procedure Recovery Location
Effective Stroke Prevention
If you are experiencing any symptoms related to atherosclerosis, such as limpness or numbness in your limbs, loss of vision, or drooping of the facial muscles, we invite you to schedule an appointment with our reputable vascular surgeons at Arizona Premier Surgery, who are equipped to detect the signs of carotid blockage and effectively reduce or prevent your risk of a stroke.