Carotid endarterectomy usually requires one night of a hospital stay following the surgery and enables patients to perform nonstrenuous activities within a week, reports WebMD. It is common to experience neck ache for two weeks following the procedure. Patients should adopt a healthy lifestyle and take medications as instructed by their doctors to reduce risk of complications.
Carotid endarterectomy removes plaque accumulation from the carotid arteries, explains WebMD. Doctors often recommend the surgery to patients who suffered a moderate stroke or transient ischemic attack in the recent six months and patients with at least 70 percent narrowing in their carotid arteries.
The procedure involves creating a tiny cut in the neck to expose the carotid artery and temporarily rerouting the blood circulation through the affected area by putting a tube in the narrowing region's upper and lower areas, according to WebMD. Doctors open the artery, remove the plaque and shunt, and close the artery and incisions.
Compared to medication treatment only, carotid endarterectomy more effectively prevents stroke in patients who are experiencing symptoms resulting from 70 to 90 percent obstruction of the carotid arteries, states WebMD. Patients who go through carotid endarterectomy within two weeks after a stroke or transient ischemic attack typically experience better benefits, while those who undergo surgery more than two weeks later have higher risks of stroke because repeated strokes are more likely to occur in the days and weeks following the first incident.