Carotid Endarterectomy- Performed at MGH to Treat Carotid Artery Disease
Carotid endarterectomy is a surgical procedure for removing plaque from the carotid arteries to allow an unobstructed flow of blood to the brain. Carotid endarterectomy is indicated in more severe cases of carotid artery disease.
The surgery takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours. The surgeon first makes a small incision on the side of the neck to expose the artery. The affected area of the artery is clamped so that the surgeon does not disturb blood flow; sometimes a shunt is used to divert blood that generally flows down this pathway. The artery is then opened, and a special instrument is used to remove plaque from the inside of it. The artery is then sutured closed. In some cases, the surgeon may widen that area of the artery with a synthetic graft. Under normal circumstances, the carotid endarterectomy procedure requires only an overnight stay in the hospital.
Some patients may be too ill or unable to tolerate a carotid endarterectomy, and a less invasive procedure called carotid stenting may be indicated instead.
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