Carotid endarterectomy is a surgical procedure that removes a buildup of plaque from the inner wall of the carotid artery. In this procedure, a doctor will make an incision along the front of your neck, open the carotid artery and remove the plaques clogging the artery. The surgeon then repairs the artery with stitches and a patch made with a vein or artificial material (patch graft) you may be put under local anesthesia to numb just the neck, or you may be put under general anesthesia. This surgery usually requires up to two days of recovery time in the hospital.
You may be a candidate for Carotid angioplasty and stenting instead of carotid endarterectomy. In this procedure, doctors thread a thin tube (catheter) with a small balloon attached through the blood vessel in your neck toward the narrowed artery. The balloon is then inflated to widen the artery and a small wire mesh coil (stent) is inserted to keep the artery from narrowing again.