Though utmost care is taken by your surgeon during the procedure, carotid surgery does carry certain risks. The risks of carotid artery surgery include:
- Blood clots or bleeding in the brain
- Heart attack
- Brain damage
- Swelling near your airway
- More blockage of the carotid artery over time
- Breathing problems
- Allergic reaction to medicines
The risk is higher if you suffer from diabetes or if you are more than 75 years old.
What is carotid artery surgery?
Carotid artery surgery is a surgery to treat carotid artery disease. The carotid artery is the main artery present on both sides of the neck that supplies blood to the brain and face. A buildup of the fatty substance (plaques) can block the blood flow in the carotid arteries entirely or partially, resulting in a stroke. Carotid artery surgery restores proper blood flow to the brain. There are two types of carotid artery surgery:
When should you have carotid artery surgery?
Carotid artery surgery is ideal in these cases:
What to expect during carotid artery surgery?
Before the procedure:
You should enlist your medical and medication history to the physician. Tell the physician about what drugs you are taking, even nonprescription medicines or herbs. Before the surgery, you should:
- Ask your physician about the drugs to be taken on the day of the surgery
- Inform the physician if you are on blood thinners
- Inform the physician if you have a cold, flu, fever, herpes breakout, or any illness
- Stop smoking a few days before the procedure
- Stop drinking or eating anything after midnight the night before your procedure
- Stop taking antiarrhythmic medications several days before the surgery
- Ask the doctor about any precautions if you have a pacemaker or implanted defibrillator
During a carotid endarterectomy:
- You may receive general anesthesia or local anesthesia along with a sedative to make you relax throughout the procedure
- You have to lie on your side on the operating table, the side where the blocked artery is present
- The physician makes a cut in the neck to expose the carotid artery
- After exposing the artery by shifting the structures of the neck, the physician makes a cut in the artery
- To divert the blood flow around the surgery, the physician places a shunt
- After placing the shunt, the physician removes the plaque from the artery
- Next, the physician removes the shunt and close the artery with stitches
- Finally, the physician places a small tube in the neck to drain the blood
- The physician applies a sterile bandage or dressing at the site
During an angioplasty:
- During an angioplasty, the physician passes a catheter through a small incision (cut) made on the leg, arm, or wrist.
- A tiny balloon attached to the catheter would blow up and push through the blockage.
- Finally, the physician places a wire mesh (stent) in this blocked area. The stent is left in the artery to keep it open.
After the procedure:
- The drain will be removed 24 hours after the surgery
- You may have to stay overnight in the hospital
After going home:
- Avoid physical activity for 3-4 weeks
- Don’t drive for 24 hours
- Don’t drink alcohol for 24 hours after you leave the hospital
- Shower immediately
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Choosing Wisely. Carotid artery surgery. https://www.choosingwisely.org/patient-resources/carotid-artery-surgery/#:~:text=The%20surgery%20has%20serious%20risks,Severe%20heart%20or%20lung%20disease
Top How Serious Is A Carotid Artery Surgery? Related Articles
Can Peripheral Artery Disease Affect the Heart?Peripheral artery disease is a condition in which extremities (usually the legs) do not receive sufficient blood flow due to the narrowing of or blocks in arteries. Peripheral artery disease is also likely to be a sign of more widespread accumulation of fat deposits in the arteries (atherosclerosis or plaque).
Carotid Artery Disease
The term carotid artery disease refers to the narrowing of the carotid arteries and can also be called carotid stenosis. Fatty substance buildup and cholesterol deposits, called plaque are the cause of the narrowing arteries. Carotid artery disease can be treated by following recommended lifestyle changes, taking prescription medications, and considering a procedure to improve blood flow, if your doctor believes it could help.
Heart disease (coronary artery disease) occurs when plaque builds up in the coronary arteries, the vessels that supply blood to the heart. Heart disease can lead to heart attack. Risk factors for heart disease include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Family history
Angina, shortness of breath, and sweating are just a few symptoms that may indicate a heart attack. Treatment of heart disease involves control of heart disease risk factors through lifestyle changes, medications, and/or stenting or bypass surgery. Heart disease can be prevented by controlling heart disease risk factors.
CAD SlideshowWhat is heart disease (coronary artery disease)? Learn about the causes of heart disease, arrhythmias and myopathy. Symptoms of heart disease include chest pain and shortness of breath. Explore heart disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.
Illustrations of the HeartThe muscle that pumps blood received from veins into arteries throughout the body. See a picture of the Heart and learn more about the health topic.
How Long Do Carotid Artery Stents Last?Carotid angioplasty and carotid stenting are minimally invasive procedures that widen the openings of the clogged carotid arteries to restore blood flow to the brain. They are often performed to treat or prevent strokes. Once placed, the stent permanently stays inside the artery.
Renal Artery StenosisRenal artery stenosis is a narrowing of the diameter of the renal arteries. When the renal arteries narrow, the result is restricted blood flow to the kidneys, which may lead to impaired kidney function and high blood pressure (referred to as renovascular hypertension (RVHT). Renal artery stenosis can occur in one or both kidneys. The primary cause of renal artery stenosis is atherosclerosis. Symptoms of renal artery stenosis include high blood pressure that does not respond to treatment and severe high blood pressure in individuals younger than 30 or greater than 50 years of age. Renal artery stenosis is diagnosed with imaging and functional tests. Treatment for renal artery stenosis include medication or surgery.
Why Would You Need a Carotid Ultrasound?A carotid ultrasound test detects narrowing (stenosis) of the carotid artery that is responsible for TIAs or stroke. The carotid arteries are a pair of major blood vessels that carry blood to the brain through the neck.