Carotid endarterectomy is a procedure to treat carotid artery disease, a condition that occurs when fatty, waxy deposits build up in one of the arteries located on each side of your neck (carotid arteries). This buildup of plaques (atherosclerosis) may restrict blood flow to your brain. Removing plaques causing the narrowing in the artery can improve blood flow in your carotid arteries and reduce your risk of stroke.

In carotid endarterectomy, you receive local or general anesthetic. Your surgeon makes an incision along the front of your neck, opens your carotid artery and removes the plaques that are clogging your artery. Your surgeon then repairs the artery with stitches or a patch made with a vein or artificial material (patch graft).

Doctors may recommend carotid endarterectomy if you're experiencing symptoms or if you have more than 60 percent blockage in your arteries.

Jan. 18, 2012