The carotid arteries are located on both sides of the neck, providing blood flow to the head and brain. Carotid artery disease is a condition in which these arteries have become narrowed or blocked due to the development of plaque (fatty deposits on the artery wall).
This condition is also called “carotid artery disease” or “carotid stenosis.” When the carotid arteries are blocked, it is a dangerous condition, posing a risk of stroke. The narrowed artery may lead to blood clot formation, which then releases into the artery and reaches the brain. An open carotid endarterectomy is a delicate surgical procedure to restore blood flow to the artery by removing the buildup of plaque.
Why do I need this surgery?
As a person ages, the elasticity of the carotid arteries can be compromised, with these critical blood vessels becoming narrowed and stiff, a condition called atherosclerosis. This condition can develop due to aging, a diet of high-fat foods, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, or hereditary. Once the carotid artery has stiffened and narrowed, a stroke could occur with serious health consequences. Once the condition has been diagnosed, it is of critical importance that the surgery is performed.
You may have been diagnosed with this condition by one or more types of diagnostic tests, such as an ultrasound scan, which can be performed in-office at Advanced Surgical Technology in Mt. Vernon. An ultrasound is typically the first diagnostic test to determine if your carotid arteries have narrowed.
The blockage will be graded as minor, moderate, or severe. If it is graded as moderate or severe, or if you have already suffered a stroke, the surgery should be performed without delay. For minor cases of narrowing, the surgery will be delayed, and your condition regularly monitored.
What to expect: Open carotid endarterectomy
Before your surgery, you must stop smoking (if you smoke) and stop taking blood thinning medications or supplements. Dr. Liyanage will work closely with your other medical providers regarding changes in your medications. Your surgery will be performed under either local or general anesthesia. The surgery may require one to two hours to complete, during which the plaque buildup in the artery is removed. This surgery is very safe, and involves placing an incision in the artery, rerouting the blood flow through a catheter around the area being treated, removing the plaque, and then re-closing the artery with dissolvable sutures.
Recovery from open carotid endarterectomy
In most cases, you can return home following your surgery, with help from another adult. You may have some discomfort on your neck for one to two weeks and will have pain medication to keep you comfortable. You can return to your regular activities as soon as you feel well enough to do so. Arrange for some help around your home during the early phase of healing. You are free to shower, but must avoid soaking, scrubbing, and must keep the incision site protected from the direct flow of water. Do not wear any clothing that covers the bandage over your incision, so no rubbing, irritation, or pressure occurs.
Why choose Advanced Surgical Technology for open carotid endarterectomy?
At Advanced Surgical Technology, our board-certified surgeon, Dr. Liyanage is an Honors graduate of Harvard Medical School. He has over 22 years of vascular surgery experience and uses the most advanced techniques when performing this delicate surgical procedure.