People age 75 and older with other risk factors are more likely to develop complications following carotid artery surgery, according to the UCSF School of Medicine. Risk factors include blood clots, heart attack, seizures, airway swelling, infection and blockage of the artery over time, according to MedlinePlus.
The two types of carotid artery surgeries, endarterectomy and angioplasty with stent placement, are procedures that work to restore proper blood flow in the brain. When blood flow through the carotid artery becomes completely or partially blocked by a fatty substance called plaque, the result is a reduction in blood supply to the brain that may cause a stroke. Although carotid artery surgery may lower the risk of strokes, lifestyle changes that help to prevent plaque accumulation, blood clots and other problems in the arteries is critical. These changes may include adopting a healthy diet, increasing physical activity and quitting smoking, according to MedlinePlus.