One of the most common locations for plaque (atherosclerosis) to develop is in the carotid artery. Severe stenosis or symptomatic disease requires a procedure called a carotid endarterectomy. First, the patient is evaluated in the office or hospital and carotid stenosis is suspected, imaging is next step. This is usually in the form of a carotid duplex. Based on the degree of blockage or symptoms, the physician may decide to pursue a carotid endarterectomy. Alternatively, if the stenosis is not significant enough to warrant surgery medical management can be implicated.
During the procedure the patient initially requires anesthesia. Then, a neck incision is made and the plaque and the inner lining of the artery are removed. A patch made of vein or bovine tissue is used to close the artery after plaque removal. Finally, a drain is placed, and the incision is closed.
Most patients are able to go home the day following surgery as long as they have no complications. Typically, patients are back to their normal routines within a week. They are able to drive once they are no longer taking pain medications and can move their neck easily.
Patients requiring vascular surgery should look for the best surgeon to meet all their needs. Dr. Jenna Kazil is a compassionate surgeon who completed a general surgery residency as well as a vascular surgery fellowship. She works at Florida Surgical Clinic in Manatee County, FL.