What is Carotid Endarterectomy?

Carotid Endarterectomy is an invasive procedure that is commonly preferred to treat patients with CAD or Carotid Artery Disease. It is primarily used to prevent the occurrence of stroke which the usual result of untreated CAD.

Carotid Artery Disease is a condition causing the narrowing or total obstruction of the arterial wall due to the development of plaque which is usually made up of cholesterol, fat and excessive calcium deposits. These plaques tend to block the carotid arteries. Carotid Arteries can be found each side of the neck. The right and left common carotid arteries eventually lead to the external and internal carotid arteries as it goes near to the brain. These carotid arteries are very important because they are greatly responsible for supplying the right amount of blood, together with oxygen, to the brain and the facial area.
In the surgery, the patient is sedated using general anesthesia. This is a greatly invasive procedure because it involves direct access to the carotid arteries through incision at the neck area. Once the incision is made and the affected carotid artery is placed into view, the surgeon wil have to manually remove the plaque from the walls. Caution must be observed because the arteries are small and any wrong move can affect its elasticity. After ensuring that the plaques are totally removed, the surgeon closes the artery effectively, making sure that it is capable of handling its normal function. This ensures that the blood flow to the brain is kept normal.
Who can undergo Carotid Endarterectomy?
Carotid Endarterectomy is often indicated for patients with history of mild stroke. Upon assessment of the degree of CAD, when the patient is found out to have severe stenosis or total obstruction of the carotid artery, this procedure is also used. Proper assessment must be made by the physician to properly evaluate if the patient is able to handle such an invasive procedure. Old age and other underlying disease conditions may not allow the patient to undergo the surgical procedure.
Recovery After Carotid Endarterectomy
The surgical procedure lasts for around two to three hours. After the surgery, the patientwill be closely monitored for any signs of high blood pressure and any significant alterations in heart rate, respiration and even temperature. If everything is kept normal, the patient is allowed to leave the hospital after 48 hours or approximately two days. Pain and even numbness at the surgical site is known to be normal right after the procedure. Pain can be effectively relieved by prescribed medications. Most patients who had Carotid Endarterectomy responded well to the said procedure.