Navigate Up

​Carotid Endarterectomy (CEA) Surgery, Anatomy, and Complications

Carotid endarterectomy (CEA) is a type of surgery used to treat carotid stenosis that may lead to stroke or aneurysms, or to prevent stroke recurrence.

During this microsurgical procedure, a UPMC neurosurgeon removes plaque blocking the carotid artery in the neck.

Carotid Endarterectomy: What to Expect

Carotid endarterectomy involves a small incision in the neck, followed by dissection and localization of the carotid artery.

The artery is opened and all the "calcified fat" (atheroma) is removed from the artery to reestablish blood flow.

The neurosurgical team monitors the brain waves during surgery to make sure the brain is receiving enough blood throughout the procedure.

Other treatments for carotid stenosis

In some cases, instead of carotid endarterectomy, we may use one of the following minimally invasive techniques:


How can we help you?

Schedule an
appointment »

Ask a question »

Request our expert
opinion »


Phone Numbers:

(within the U.S.)


  • Meet the Surgeons Button
  • Patient Stories button
  • Pediatric Patients Button
  • International patients button
  • Legacy of Innovation Button

UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences | Supplemental content provided by Healthwise, Incorporated. To learn more, visit

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

Pittsburgh, PA, USA |