Carotid endarterectomy

Also known as: Carotid stenosis
Carotid endarterectomy is surgery to remove plaque buildup in the carotid arteries. During a carotid endarterectomy: A small incision is made in the neck just below the level of the jaw. The narrowed carotid artery is exposed. The blood flow through the narrowed area may be temporarily rerouted (shunted). Rerouting is done by placing a tube in the vessel above and below the narrowing. Blood flows around the narrowed area during the surgery. The artery is opened and the plaque is carefully removed, often in one piece. A vein from the leg may be sewn (grafted) on the carotid artery to widen or repair the vessel. The shunt is removed, and the artery and skin incisions are closed.