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Carotid Endarterectomy Surgery

What is Carotid endarterectomy surgery?

Carotid endarterectomy (CEA) is a surgical procedure performed to remove plaque buildup from the carotid arteries, which are the main blood vessels supplying blood to the brain. Plaque accumulation in these arteries can lead to a condition known as carotid artery disease or carotid stenosis, where the flow of blood to the brain is restricted, increasing the risk of stroke.

During a carotid endarterectomy, the surgeon opens the affected carotid artery, removes the plaque, and repairs the artery to restore normal blood flow. The procedure aims to reduce the risk of stroke in individuals with significant carotid artery blockages.

When and why Carotid endarterectomy surgery is recommended?

Carotid endarterectomy (CEA) surgery is recommended in certain cases of carotid artery disease, specifically when there is significant narrowing (stenosis) of the carotid arteries. 

Here are common scenarios in which CEA may be recommended:

Symptomatic Carotid Artery Disease:

CEA is often recommended for individuals with symptomatic carotid artery disease, especially if they have experienced transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) or minor strokes related to the narrowed carotid artery. The surgery aims to reduce the risk of future strokes.

High-Grade Stenosis:

CEA may be considered when imaging studies, such as ultrasound or angiography, reveal a high degree of stenosis in the carotid artery. The severity of stenosis is usually expressed as a percentage of narrowing.

Recent Stroke or TIA:

Individuals who have had a recent stroke or TIA and are found to have significant carotid artery stenosis may be candidates for CEA. The goal is to prevent future strokes by removing the source of emboli or blood clots.

Asymptomatic High-Grade Stenosis:

In some cases, CEA may be considered for individuals with asymptomatic high-grade stenosis (greater than 70%) if they are deemed to be at high risk for future stroke based on factors such as the degree of stenosis, age, and overall health.

Individualized Assessment:

The decision for CEA is often individualized, taking into account the patient's overall health, comorbidities, life expectancy, and the potential benefits and risks of the surgery.

Failed Medical Management:

For individuals with symptomatic carotid artery disease who have not responded well to medical management, including antiplatelet medications and statins, CEA may be considered.

How is Carotid endarterectomy surgery different from the conventional treatment?

Carotid endarterectomy (CEA) is a surgical procedure, and its primary goal is to physically remove atherosclerotic plaque from the carotid artery to improve blood flow and reduce the risk of stroke. Conventional treatments for carotid artery disease may include medical management and lifestyle modifications. Here's a comparison:

Carotid Endarterectomy (CEA):

  • Surgical Intervention:
    CEA is a surgical procedure performed by a vascular surgeon. It involves making an incision in the neck, exposing the affected carotid artery, removing the plaque, and repairing the artery.
  • Direct Removal of Plaque:
    The key feature of CEA is the direct removal of atherosclerotic plaque from the carotid artery. This can be particularly beneficial in cases of high-grade stenosis where the risk of stroke is elevated.
  • Immediate Improvement in Blood Flow:
    CEA provides an immediate improvement in blood flow through the carotid artery once the plaque is removed, reducing the risk of emboli or blood clots causing a stroke.

Conventional Treatment:

  • Medical Management:
    Conventional treatments often involve the use of medications to manage risk factors associated with carotid artery disease. Medications may include antiplatelet agents (e.g., aspirin), statins to control cholesterol levels, and antihypertensive drugs.
  • Lifestyle Modifications:
    Lifestyle changes, such as adopting a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking, are essential components of conventional treatment to reduce overall cardiovascular risk.
  • Antiplatelet Therapy:
    Antiplatelet medications, such as aspirin, may be prescribed to reduce the risk of blood clot formation and stroke. This is a common component of both surgical and non-surgical approaches.
  • Carotid Artery Stenting:
    In some cases, carotid artery stenting (CAS) may be considered as an alternative to CEA. CAS involves the placement of a stent to widen the narrowed artery, similar to how a stent is used in coronary artery interventions.
  • Continuous Monitoring and Medication Adherence:
    Conventional treatment often requires ongoing monitoring of risk factors and adherence to medications and lifestyle modifications to manage and control carotid artery disease.

How is life after why Carotid endarterectomy surgery?

Life after carotid endarterectomy (CEA) surgery can vary from person to person, and the experience depends on several factors, including the individual's overall health, the success of the surgery, and the presence of any complications. Here are some general considerations for the postoperative period:

  • Immediate Recovery:
    After the surgery, individuals are typically monitored in a recovery area before being transferred to a hospital room. The immediate recovery period may involve monitoring vital signs and ensuring that there are no immediate complications.
  • Hospital Stay:
    The length of hospitalization varies but is usually relatively short. Most individuals undergo CEA as an elective procedure and may spend one to two days in the hospital for postoperative care and monitoring.
  • Resuming Normal Activities:
    The timeline for resuming normal activities, including returning to work, driving, and physical activities, varies among individuals. 
  • Follow-Up Appointments:
    Regular follow-up appointments with the vascular surgeon are scheduled to monitor the healing of the surgical site and assess overall recovery. These appointments may include imaging studies to evaluate the carotid artery.
  • Improvement in Symptoms:
    For individuals who underwent CEA to address symptoms such as transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) or minor strokes, there may be an improvement or resolution of these symptoms over time.
  • Long-Term Risk Reduction:
    CEA is performed to reduce the risk of future strokes by improving blood flow through the carotid artery. Continued adherence to a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, and medication management, plays a crucial role in long-term risk reduction.


At Aster Hospitals we provide the highest quality of care and a transformative experience for all your healthcare needs. With our network of multi-speciality hospitals, specialised doctors, and world-class technology, we bring global standards of medical care to our patients.

How is Carotid Endarterectomy Performed?

The procedure involves making an incision in the neck, exposing the affected carotid artery, removing the plaque, and repairing the artery. The surgeon may use a temporary shunt to maintain blood flow during the procedure.

How Long is the Hospital Stay After Carotid Endarterectomy?

The length of hospitalization varies, but most individuals spend one to two days in the hospital for postoperative monitoring and recovery.

Is Carotid Endarterectomy Done Under General Anesthesia?

Yes, carotid endarterectomy is typically performed under general anesthesia. This ensures that the patient is unconscious and pain-free during the surgery.

Can Carotid Endarterectomy Cause a Stroke?

While the procedure is performed to reduce the risk of stroke, like any surgery, there is a small risk of complications.


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