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Surgery for Carotid Artery Disease

When the furring inside the carotid artery causes a narrowing of 70% or greater, particularly if this results in symptoms such as stroke, transient ischaemic attack or amaurosis fugax (transient blindness in one eye), most UK Vascular specialists would recommend intervention to widen the inside of the artery and allow blood to flow more freely.

The commonest way of doing this is to perform an operation called Carotid Endartarectomy. This is only performed by specialist Vascular Surgeons and can be carried out under either local or general anaesthetic.

 

The diagram represents a carotid artery with significant narrowing (in black) affecting the blood flow to the brain (in red).

During the operation an incision is made in the side of the neck over the carotid artery.

Clamps (in blue) are placed on the common carotid artery (bottom) external carotid artery (middle right) and internal carotid artery (top left) and an incision (in red) is made along the length of the artery.
The narrowing is carefully removed from the inside of the artery and the incision is closed by stitching in a patch of woven material (in green). The clamps are then removed.
This allows the blood to flow normally up to the brain

To download our patient information sheet on carotid artery disease and carotid endartarectomy, click here

 

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