Carotid Endarterectomy Overview

The carotid arteries, located on either side of the neck, provide important blood flow to the brain. As people age, plaque can build up on the walls of the body’s arteries, causing the arteries to narrow and stiffen (known as atherosclerosis). This process can occur in the carotid arteries (termed carotid stenosis) and is a significant risk factor for stroke.

What Is Carotid Endarterectomy?

Carotid endarterectomy – a procedure to remove plaque build-up from a carotid artery and help prevent stroke – is considered the standard treatment for people with carotid stenosis. Carotid endarterectomy is performed through a small incision in the neck, and most patients return home from the hospital the day after the procedure.

This video animation demonstrates a carotid endarterectomy, an open surgical procedure that treats carotid stenosis. (This animation does not have sound.)

Carotid Endarterectomy at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Vascular and cerebrovascular surgeons at Brigham and Women’s Hospital perform large volumes of carotid endarterectomy procedures each year with very low complication rates.

For patients who are at high risk for surgery or have repeat narrowing of the carotid artery, carotid artery stenting – a minimally-invasive procedure – may be used on a select basis. This procedure is performed by inserting a catheter through an artery in the groin to guide and place a stent that opens the carotid artery.

After either standard carotid endarterectomy or carotid artery stenting, periodic ultrasound studies are used to monitor the carotid arteries.

Cardiovascular Care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

The Carl J. and Ruth Shapiro Cardiovascular Center at BWH is one of the most advanced centers of its kind in the New England region. Bringing together the full range of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular services in one building, the Center provides the technology and infrastructure to enable seamless and coordinated care for all cardiovascular patients.

Patient- and Family-focused Care
Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) has long been committed to not only the care of our patients, but also the many other needs that they and their families have. This philosophy of patient- and family-focused care – involving systems and services that emphasize healing in a comfortable, relaxed environment – is a guiding force behind the care we provide at the Center.

Quality of Patient Care
BWH is committed to providing all of our patients with the safest, highest-quality, most-satisfying care possible and follow established protocols that have been shown to improve patient outcomes. Our Inpatient Satisfaction Survey, sent to patients’ to assess their total care experience, helps us to monitor what we are doing well and areas for improvement. We pride ourselves in the Quality of Patient Care we provide and how we compare with other hospitals.

Additional Resource

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If you believe you should have an evaluation and would like to schedule an appointment with one of our experts, call (617) 732-6600 to speak to one of our knowledgeable coordinators who can help to connect you to the doctor that best meets your needs, or fill out an online appointment request form.

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