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Carotid Endarterectomy

Carotid endarterectomy is an operation performed to reduce the risk of stroke. It is indicated for patients who have had a stroke or mini stroke and have significant plaque in their corresponding carotid artery which has been demonstrated on a scan (most often ultrasound). It is also indicated to reduce stroke risk for asymptomatic patients who have had significant plaque demonstrated. The operation, whilst extremely delicate, involves only a small incision and an overnight stay in hospital (usually only one night). Carotid endarterectomy can be performed under local or general anaesthetic. The procedure involves accessing the carotid artery through an incision made along the side of the neck approximately 10cm in length. Once the artery is exposed it is clamped and opened. Blood flow to the brain is preserved using a temporary bypass shunt. The disease is excised from the artery and it is repaired using a synthetic patch and fine stitches. The incision is closed with dissolvable sutures. Post operatively blood pressure is monitored closely. Most patients will feel well enough to go home the day after surgery. However, some patients may experience complications – your surgeon will discuss any potential complications with you in advance of the procedure.