Finding out you have carotid artery disease — also called carotid artery stenosis — can be scary. Our team is here to help.
Our skilled vascular surgeons have extensive experience performing the most effective procedures for treating carotid artery disease: carotid endarterectomy and carotid artery angioplasty with stenting.
Treating carotid artery disease
Carotid artery disease increases the risk of stroke. It’s important to work with your doctor to create a customized treatment plan to reduce that risk.
Mild narrowing of a carotid artery may be managed without surgery. Nonsurgical options include:
- Lifestyle changes: Improving diet, stopping smoking, exercising regularly, losing weight and reducing stress can promote healthier arteries.
- Medications: Drugs to lower cholesterol, control blood pressure and thin the blood can improve blood flow through the affected artery.
If there’s a severe blockage, or if you’ve already had a stroke or mini-stroke (transient ischemic attack, or TIA), surgery may be needed.
Surgery for carotid artery disease
Surgical options for treating carotid artery disease aim to improve blood flow to the brain and reduce the risk of a stroke or TIA. These options include:
Carotid endarterectomy (CAE): This procedure removes plaque that has built up on the inside of the carotid artery wall. It’s the most common surgical treatment for carotid artery disease. An incision is made on the neck by the affected carotid artery. The artery is opened and the plaque removed. The artery is stitched back together, restoring normal blood flow to the brain. The average hospital stay after CEA is two days.
Carotid angioplasty with stenting (CAS): This minimally invasive procedure starts with a small incision in the groin. Guided by X-ray, the surgeon threads a catheter (long, hollow tube) with a tiny balloon at its tip to the narrow part of the carotid artery. The balloon is inflated and pushes the plaque to the side so blood can flow better. A stent (a tiny, expandable metal mesh tube) may be placed in the artery to prevent future narrowing. Most patients leave the hospital within 24 hours after CAS.
Which CAD surgery is right for me?
Each patient is unique. The most appropriate procedure to treat your carotid artery disease depends on several factors, including your overall health and the severity of your carotid artery disease. Your doctor will talk to you about which procedure is the best for treating your condition.