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Carotid Endarterectomy

The surgeons at UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute provide expert carotid artery care and perform minimally invasive carotid endarterectomy procedures.

Why choose UPMC in Central Pa. for your carotid endarterectomy?

When you choose UPMC in Central Pa. for your carotid endarterectomy, you will receive expert care from some of the region's most experienced cardiovascular surgeons. We provide expert carotid artery care using either minimally invasive or traditional open techniques, depending on your specific condition.

What is carotid endarterectomy?

Carotid endarterectomy is a procedure that improves blood flow to your brain by opening narrowed or blocked carotid arteries, which are located on either side of your neck. The procedure removes plaque – which is made up of fat, cholesterol, and other substances – from the inside of your carotid artery.

What happens during carotid endarterectomy?

Your carotid endarterectomy can be performed using minimally invasive techniques or traditional open surgery. During the procedure, you may be awake under local anesthesia or asleep under general anesthesia.

During a minimally invasive procedure, your vascular surgeon will thread a balloon catheter through your femoral artery in your groin and guide it to your carotid artery. After the catheter is in place, your doctor will inflate the balloon to open your carotid artery and improve blood flow. Your doctor will use a special device to prevent plaque material from moving through your arteries and blocking blood vessels in your brain.

In a traditional procedure, you will be positioned on the operating table, lying on your back, with your head raised slightly and turned away from the side where you will have the procedure. You will receive a sedative medication in your IV before the procedure to help you relax.

Your doctor will make an incision down the side of your neck over the diseased artery, followed by an incision into your carotid artery. A shunt may be used to divert blood flow around the surgical area and maintain blood flow to your brain during the surgery. After the artery is clear, the incisions in your artery and neck will be closed.

What can I expect after carotid endarterectomy?

When your carotid endarterectomy is complete, you will be moved to recovery and then admitted to the hospital. If a drainage tube was placed in your incision during your procedure, it most likely will be removed the next morning, and you should be able to go home within 1-2 days.

How long does it take to recover after carotid endarterectomy?

You should ask your doctor when you can return to work and resume everyday activities. You may be instructed not to drive for a certain amount of time after your procedure, so you may need to arrange for someone to drive you home after you are discharged.

It is very important that you see your doctor for follow-up visits as recommended. Your doctor may schedule you for follow-up duplex ultrasound exams to monitor your carotid arteries.

Need more information?

Phone: 717-731-0101

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Surgical Specialists of Lancaster - UPMC
1575 Highlands Drive
Suite 200
Lititz, PA 17543

Phone: 717-735-7410
Fax: 717-735-7438

Surgical Specialists of Lancaster - UPMC
2101 Embassy Drive
Lancaster, PA 17603

Phone: 717-735-7410
Fax: 717-735-7438

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