Carotid artery surgery, also known as carotid endarterectomy, is a procedure that removes fatty deposits (plaque) that reduce blood flow to the brain from the inner lining of the carotid artery in your neck. Carotid artery disease is a condition that causes the narrowing of the carotid artery by the formation of atherosclerotic plaques (see fig. 1). The carotid artery supplies blood to portions of the neck, head and brain. Individuals with carotid artery disease are at increased risk for a stroke. This surgery improves the flow of blood to your brain and decreases your risk of stroke.
In this procedure the carotid artery is surgically opened. The fatty plaque is then dissected away and removed from the carotid artery wall (see fig. 3). The artery is then sutured closed (see fig. 3).
Figure 1: Carotid artery with fatty deposits (plaque) reducing blood flow to the brain.
Figure 2: Carotid endarterectomy procedure.
Figure 3: Closer view of plaque removal, and closure of the carotid artery.
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