Carotid artery disease is caused by plaque buildup in the carotid arteries, located on each side of your neck. The carotid arteries are responsible for delivering blood from your heart to your brain. Over time, plaque can accumulate in the walls of your carotid arteries, causing your arteries to narrow and not supply enough blood to your brain.

Carotid artery disease is a serious health concern because plaque or blood clots can break loose and travel to the smaller veins that lead directly to larger portions of your brain, blocking blood flow. When this happens, it can cause a stroke or a transient ischemic attack (TIA).

To restore normal blood flow and prevent the chance of a stroke, your physician may refer you to a vascular surgeon or specialist for a carotid endarterectomy.

What is a Carotid Endarterectomy?

During a carotid endarterectomy, a vascular surgeon removes the inner lining of your carotid artery, which has been damaged due to plaque buildup. Your vascular surgeon makes an incision on one side of your neck to access the obstructed carotid artery. Your carotid artery is temporarily clamped to stop blood from flowing through it, but your brain will still receive blood from your other artery.

Once the artery is clamped, your vascular surgeon will make an incision into the artery and remove any plaque deposit by removing the lining of the diseased section of the artery. The artery is then stitched back together and the neck opening closed. The entire operation usually takes around two hours from start to finish.

Why Choose the Peripheral Vascular Institute at Methodist Healthcare?

When you need excellent vascular surgeons, you can trust the vascular specialists at our hospitals and clinics. We currently offer vascular surgery at five of our world-class hospitals in the greater San Antonio area. Find a physician today to learn more about our vascular program.