About Carotid Endarterectomy
This information is intended for general information only and should not be considered as medical advice on the part of Health-Tourism.com. Any decision on medical treatments, after-care or recovery should be done solely upon proper consultation and advice of a qualified physician.
What is Carotid Endarterectomy?
Carotid Endarterectomy is a surgical practice that entails cleaning up or opening up of the carotid artery so as to reduce the occurrence of a stroke. The procedure is not a total cure though it lasts for long. The process involves removing of materials that line up on the walls of the carotid artery hence leaving it narrow. Carotid artery carries oxygenated blood to the head.
Why the carotid artery disease develops
- Plaque in the artery can build up due to the following reasons:
- Aging of an individual
- High blood pressure
- High fat contents in the diet
When is it recommended to have the procedure?
- If you have mild carotid artery blockage that is evident due to symptoms such as mini-strokes and transient ischemic attack (TIA).
- In case you have an acute blockage that exceeds 79% but does not exhibit any symptoms.
- If you experience eyesight loss in one eye
- In case of continued speech problems
Tests for diagnosing carotid artery disease
There are several available and include:
- Computerized Tomography scan- This test is commonly referred as CT scan. It involves a series of x-rays taken from different angles which create an image of your inside body.
- Computed tomographic angiogram- A dye is injected into your neck region and x-rays are taken and used to build an image of the arteries in your neck.
- Duplex ultrasound scan- the image and aperture of the arteries are generated using sound waves.
- Magnetic Resonance Angiography- radio waves plus a magnetic field are used to create images of arteries and the blood flow in them.
Risks for not undergoing the Carotid Endarterectomy
- The major risk is stroke occurrence which may cause death
- A heart attack
- Damaging of nerves that may affect your backbone, tongue or voice box
How to prepare for the procedure
One of the key emphasis lies on discussing the issue with family and relatives who are highly involved in making arrangements for the surgery. After debating it with your family, have another talk with your vascular surgeon about your readiness and whether to alter some of the previously agreed medications.
What does the procedure entail?
The surgery is conducted in a standard operating room by a vascular surgeon. Before commencing the surgery, general anesthesia is injected into the individual. The surgeon will then make an opening at the front part of your neck. The surgeon will then clean up the carotid artery from the opening. After the clean-up, the artery is stitched using a woven patch usually cut from another body part. The opening at the neck is finally closed. You may be allowed to go home after twenty-four hours of rest, or after a two-day rest depending on how well you recuperate after the surgery.
What will happen after the procedure?
After the surgery, you will be moved to a recovery area where the vascular surgeon will monitor you closely. Recovery will take a day or two but if there are any complications you may stay for a longer time for closure monitoring. Eat only soft foods like soup and yogurt during the recuperation period. Avoid driving until you have finished taking the pain medication. Lastly, an annual clinic with the vascular surgeon will also be necessary.
Side effects of Carotid Endarterectomy
- Numbness around the neck region
- Sore throat
- Alternatives of carotid Endarterectomy
Carotid Endarterectomy is the most preferred method of opening up narrowed carotid arteries. However, there is another process known as the carotid artery stent placement. This procedure involves placing a flexible tube in the carotid artery via a small cut in the groin. A stent is then fixed to the tube so as to enlarge the narrowed artery. The stent process is recommended to patients who generate adverse complications from an operation.
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