If you have been diagnosed with carotid artery disease, urgent treatment may be necessary to keep you protected against strokes. IGEA Brain, Spine & Orthopedics offers carotid endarterectomies to clear plaque from your arteries and allow your blood to flow naturally. We serve patients in the tri-state area of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut to help those with neurovascular conditions live healthier, more fulfilling lives.

Treating Carotid Artery Disease

Model of artery plaque buildupCarotid artery disease occurs when a waxy substance called plaque builds up and hardens in the walls of arteries. More specifically, it affects the two large vessels located on each side of the neck. It is generally the result of some other underlying condition. Its causes include, but are not limited to:

  • Obesity
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol or a fatty diet
  • Diabetes or insulin resistance
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Smoking
  • A family history of atherosclerosis

The disease has no obvious symptoms, but as plaque builds up, it begins to restrict blood flow and deprive the brain of the oxygen it needs. It also increases a patient’s risk of stroke. If rising blood pressure breaks a piece of plaque loose from the artery wall, that piece can become lodged in one of the smaller arteries of the brain, causing a stroke.

What Is a Carotid Endarterectomy?

A carotid endarterectomy, or CEA, is a procedure designed to reduce a patient’s risk of stroke. By removing the plaque buildup, surgeons can improve blood flow to the brain. Patients should keep in mind, however, that a CEA is not a cure. Arteries can become blocked again if the underlying condition is not controlled. Carotid endarterectomies are most effective when used alongside lifestyle changes or other management strategies to prevent carotid artery disease from occurring a second time and requiring further surgery.

What to Expect from the Procedure?

Before your procedure, your doctor will order a preliminary appointment. This time will be used to run tests and make sure surgery will be safe for you. You may also be asked to stop taking certain medications before the surgery to prevent complications. The procedure itself follows these steps:

  • 1. You are given general or local anesthesia.
  • 2. The surgeon makes an incision on your neck to expose the blocked section of the artery.
  • 3. The doctor opens the artery and clears the plaque while monitoring your vital signs.
  • 4. When finished, the incision will be closed with stitches.

After surgery, patients can expect to stay in the hospital for one to two days. Your neck may be tender for a few days afterward, and it might be difficult to swallow. Your doctor may also prescribe medicines to prevent blood clots and keep carotid artery disease from recurring.

Treat Carotid Artery Disease Today

After a carotid artery disease diagnosis, seek evaluation as soon as possible. IGEA Brain, Spine & Orthopedics, an award-winning healthcare provider, has a team of experienced specialists, who utilize cutting-edge technology to help patients find relief from this condition. We serve New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut through six convenient locations. Find out more or schedule an appointment by contacting us today.

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