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Carotid Endarterectomy

A carotid endarterctomy is performed when there is a narrowing in the neck arteries. The carotid arteries are in the front of the neck and carry blood to the brain. These arteries become narrowed when plaque builds up in the artery. The plaque may break off and travel to your brain briefly interrupting blood flow to your brain. This interruption can cause a mini-stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA). A TIA can also occur when the carotid artery is severely narrowed by plaque. TIAs can last several minutes to all day. These mini-strokes are warning signs of a stroke and should be taken very seriously.

Your doctor may hear a bruit in your neck where your carotid artery lies. A bruit is a rumbling sound made as blood travels through a narrowed artery. Your hand and arm strength is also tested to detect weakness that may be a sign of a transient ischemic attack. Your doctor can also order an ultrasound of your carotid arteries. A carotid ultrasound will determine the degree and location of blockage in the artery.

A carotid endarterectomy is performed when the artery becomes more than 75% narrowed. The surgeon will start by making an incision in your neck. Once the carotid artery is opened, a small plastic tube (shunt) is placed in your artery to maintain blood flow to the brain while cleaning the artery. Next, the plaque in the artery is carefully removed. Then the artery is closed with a vein patch or synthetic (Dacron) material and the incision is closed and covered by a dressing.

At North Texas Heart & Lung Surgery, we also offer Carotid Artery Stenting as part of the treatment for Carotid Stenosis.

In order to find out if you are a candidate for Carotid Endarterectomy or placement of a Carotid Artery Stent, please call North Texas Heart & Lung Surgery.

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