Carotid Endarterectomy

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Carotid artery disease causes up to half of strokes that happen in the U.S. every year. It can cause digestive problems and leg cramps.

A carotid endarterectomy works to prevent stroke by removing deposits from inside the carotid arteries. This improves blood flow inside these arteries, which are located in the neck and supply blood to the brain.

UVA's Expertise in Treating Carotid Artery Disease

Our team for carotid surgery includes vascular surgeons, heart doctors, stroke neurologists and stroke neuroradiologists. 

UVA performs about 120 carotid surgeries each year. Research studies have shown that patient outcomes are better at hospitals that perform more than 100 of these procedures annually.

Carotid Artery Disease

W. Darrin Clouse, MD, discusses the causes, symptoms and treatment of carotid artery disease.

The Carotid Endarterectomy Procedure

You may either have general anesthesia or local anesthesia, depending on your preference and needs.

Your surgeon will create incisions over your diseased artery. Neck surgery may require a bypass to reroute your blood during the procedure. 

During the procedure, the surgeon will clean out the inside of your blocked or narrowed artery. This process can take several hours. It also requires care to prevent removed fragments from breaking off and flowing downstream.

Once clean, the surgeon will close your incision with sutures or staples. 

Carotid Procedure Alternative: Angioplasty and Stenting

If your artery buildup can't be reached or removed or you can't undergo general anesthesia, you won't be eligible for the carotid endarterectomy procedure. Another option is an angioplasty and stenting procedure.

In this procedure, a surgeon inserts a metal stent to keep your blocked artery open.

Learn more about the angioplasty/stenting option.