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What is the procedure for carotid artery endarterectomy surgery?

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Quick Answer

The procedure for carotid endarterectomy involves administering general or local anesthesia to the patient, creating an incision on the neck, inserting a flexible tube called a catheter into the carotid artery and removing the plaque in the artery, according to MedlinePlus. The doctor uses stitches to close the artery afterward.

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What is the procedure for carotid artery endarterectomy surgery?
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Full Answer

The carotid artery, which is found on both sides of the neck, delivers blood to the brain and face, explains MedlinePlus. An accumulation of the fatty substance plaque can partly or completely impede blood flow in the artery, leading to a decrease in blood supply to the brain and causing a stroke. Doctors perform carotid endarterectomies to eliminate the plaque buildup.

Patients who receive general anesthesia fall asleep and do not experience pain during the surgery, states MedlinePlus. Those who receive local anesthesia become numb only in the part of the body involved in the surgery. The patients also typically receive medicine that helps them relax. Once the catheter is inside the carotid artery, it enables blood to flow through it around the obstructed area. After the doctor successfully removes the plaque, blood starts to flow properly through the artery to the brain.

A carotid endarterectomy takes approximately two hours, notes MedlinePlus. Doctors often perform a test after the surgery to confirm that the carotid artery has no obstruction.

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