Thromboendarterectomy is performed to open an artery that is occluded (obstructed) by a thrombus (blood clot).

The procedure is performed through an external (from outside of the body) incision rather than through a blood vessel. The occluding thrombus is then removed. Removing the thrombus includes a “shelling out” of fatty deposits in the inner lining of the diseased artery. This restores normal blood flow to the part of the body supplied by the artery.

Vascular surgeons at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) Heart & Vascular Center are at the forefront of vascular surgical care for patients requiring a thromboendarterectomy. This experience, and their collaboration with a multidisciplinary team of specialists through the Pulmonary Vascular Disease Program, enables our surgeons to handle the most complicated cases, with a range of treatment options that improve the lives of cardiac patients throughout the world.

With 47,000 outpatient visits each year, the BWH Heart & Vascular Center is one of the largest in the United States, treating over 7,000 inpatients and performing more than 8,000 procedures annually at our state-of-the-art Shapiro Cardiovascular Center.

Why Have a Thromboendarterectomy?

Removing a blood clot or thrombus restores normal blood flow to the part of the body that is supplied by the artery. Recent studies indicate a thromboendarterectomy is effective in preventing stroke, even among those patients who had no warning signs except narrowed arteries detected by their doctors on a routine exam.

A thromboendarterectomy is generally well tolerated and involves a one- to two-day hospital stay.

What You Should Expect

The BWH Heart & Vascular Center is located in the Shapiro building, across the street from BWH's main 75 Francis Street entrance. The Center brings together the full range of services in one location, fostering seamless and coordinated care for all cardiovascular patients.

If you are having surgery or a procedure, you will likely be scheduled for a visit to the Watkins Clinic in the Shapiro Center for preoperative information and tests.

The day of surgery, your care will be provided by surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses who specialize in vascular surgery. After your procedure, you will recover in the post-surgical care unit where you will receive comprehensive care by an experienced surgical and nursing staff.

During your surgery, family and friends can wait in the Shapiro Family Center where staff members will provide surgery updates.

Multidisciplinary Care

In addition to our vascular surgeons, patients also benefit from the teamwork of medical cardiologists, interventional cardiologists, cardiovascular imaging experts and radiologists, and anesthesiologists, all experts in vascular disorders. They work alongside nurses, physician assistants, physical therapists, dietitians and social workers to achieve outstanding outcomes for our patients.

Vascular Surgery Appointments and Locations


Visit the Kessler Health Education Library in the Bretholtz Center for Patients and Families to access computers and knowledgeable staff.

Access a complete directory of patient and family services.

Learn about the Watkins Clinic in the Shapiro Center for pre-operative information and tests.

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