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This causes these carotid arteries to narrow and restrict the flow of blood.

For some patients, medication, diet and lifestyle changes may be prescribed to treat this narrowing. For others surgical removal of the plaque called carotid endarterectomy may be required.

Before your endarterectomy your consultant may order one or more tests to access the flow of blood in your carotid arteries.

What happens during a carotid endarterectomy?

Carotid endarterectomy can be performed under general or local anaesthetic. Be sure and ask your consultant what method will be used. The procedure takes 1-2 hours.

If both your carotid arteries are blocked you may need two procedures within a few weeks.
Your consultant will make an incision (cut) in your neck and access your carotid artery. They will clamp the area of your artery containing the plaque to temporarily restrict the flow of blood. If needed, they may temporarily reroute the flow of blood from the area.

After carefully opening the carotid, your surgeon will peel away the plaque from the artery wall. In some cases they may insert a tiny tube (stent) to strengthen the artery and hold it open. After checking to ensure there is no residue left in the artery they will close the opening using stitches or a patch. The incision in your neck will also be closed. A small drainage tube may be left in place to drain away any excess fluid. This tube will usually be removed the day after your surgery.

After carotid endarterectomy

You may need to stay in hospital for up to 2 days following your surgery. Our healthcare team will closely monitor your blood pressure and heart rate. You will be given pain relief medication.

Most patients are able to eat and drink within a few hours of surgery.

Going home after carotid endarterectomy

Please arrange for someone to drive you home on your day of discharge. You will not be able to drive until released to do so.

Keep your wound clean and dry until your appointment to remove your stitches. Any scar will fade after a few months.

You may be given medication to prevent blood clots. Continue to take this as prescribed.

Your consultant may recommend diet and lifestyle changes to help prevent further narrowing of your arteries.
Be sure and discuss any return to work or exercise with your consultant or GP.

Most people make a good recovery from carotid endarterectomy. As with any surgical procedure there could be complications including:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Pain

Specific complications of carotid endarterectomy may include:

  • Voice change
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Further narrowing of the carotid artery
  • Stroke
  • Death (rare)

Why not print this page so you can discuss any concerns you have with your consultant?

Find your nearest hospital that provides this treatment

67 Lansdowne Road, Bournemouth, BH1 1RW

01202 291866
Overall rating View rating

Shenfield Road, Brentwood, CM15 8EH

01277 695695
Overall rating Good

Warren Road, Brighton, BN2 6DX

01273 624488
Overall rating Meeting standards

3 Clifton Hill, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1BN

0117 906 4870
Overall rating Good

Wrexham Road, Chester, CH4 7QP

01244 680 444
Overall rating Good

Rykneld Road, Derby, DE23 4SN

01332 540100
Overall rating Good

Wonford Road, Exeter, EX2 4UG

01392 262110
Overall rating Good

25 Beaconsfield Road, Glasgow, G12 0PJ


Stirling Road, Guildford, GU2 7RF

01483 555805
Overall rating Good

Foxhall Road, Ipswich, IP4 5SW

01473 279100
Overall rating Good

2 Leighton Street, Leeds, LS1 3EB

01133 882 067
Overall rating Outstanding

Scraptoft Lane, Leicester, LE5 1HY

0116 2769 401
Overall rating Good
Newcastle upon Tyne  

Clayton Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE2 1JP

0191 281 6131
Overall rating Good

Beech Road, Headington, Oxford, OX3 7RP

01865 307777
Overall rating Good

Longden Road, Shrewsbury, SY3 9DP

01743 282628
Overall rating Good

Staplegrove Elm, Taunton, TA2 6AN

01823 286991
Overall rating Good
Tunbridge Wells  

Kingswood Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN2 4UL

01892 531111
Overall rating Good

Winchester Road, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, SO53 2DW

02380 266 377
Overall rating Good

Wood Road, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton, WV6 8LE

01902 754 177
Overall rating Good

Haxby Road, York, YO31 8TA

01904 715000
Overall rating Good

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