Clearing Plaque Buildup
- Posted on: Jan 15 2018
When one of our patients is found to have up to 70 percent blockage inside their carotid artery, we may perform a carotid endarterectomy to restore normal blood flow. This procedure is usually recommended after a patient has suffered a transient ischemic attack or stroke.
What causes the buildup?
When a person has carotid artery disease, fatty, waxy deposits build up in one of the carotid arteries. These are the arteries located on each side of the neck. When plaque builds up in the carotid arteries, it can restrict blood flow to the brain, leading to strokes.
Plaque builds slowly in these arteries,, and it often doesn’t produce any signs or symptoms. Plaque consists of clumps of cholesterol, calcium, fibrous tissue and other cellular disease. This material gathers at microscopic injury sites within the artery. The process is called atherosclerosis. As the blood flow continues to be reduced, the risk of stroke increases in a direct relationship.
What is a carotid endarterectomy?
When Dr. Albirght or Dr. Dixon performs a carotid endarterectomy, the patient is placed under general anesthesia. We make an incision along the front of the patient’s neck. A shunt is put in place to direct blood flow away from the area being operated on. We then open the carotid artery. Your surgeon removes the plaque, usually in a single piece. The shunt is then removed, and the incisions are closed. We may place a patch made with a vein or a patch graft on the artery.
Another method is called eversion carotid endarterectomy. In this procedure, the carotid artery is cut and turned inside out, and the plaque is removed. The clear artery is then reattached to the rest of the artery.
Carotid endarterectomy usually takes approximately two hours.
After your procedure
Patients usually stay in the hospital for one night so that they can be monitored. Most day-to-day activities can be resumed about one week after surgery, but these can’t include strenuous exercise or physical labor. The patient’s neck will ache after this procedure, and this can last for up to two weeks. Any rapid neck twists or turns must be avoided.
If you’ve had a stroke, you may need a carotid endarterectomy to preclude further blood flow problems in the carotid arteries. Call the team at Nevada Vein and Vascular, 775-323-3000, and let’s see how we can help.
Posted in: Carotid Endarterectomy