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Carotid Disease & Stroke

Carotid Disease & Stroke

The carotid arteries run up both sides of your neck. They feed blood from the heart to the brain. Sometimes, fatty plaques form in these blood vessels. This plaque may cause clot to flow to the brain, it can lead to a stroke.

We are trained in the management of carotid disease and offer medical therapy, surgery or stenting to reduce your risk of stroke.

Carotid Stenting: What to expect

Before the procedure

  • You may be told to take aspirin beginning three or five days before your procedure to thin the blood and stop other clots from forming. On the day of the procedure, you may be told not to eat or drink.
  •  Talk to your doctor to understand exactly what to do about medications, vitamins or supplements you are taking.

During the procedure

  • A thin tube with a balloon is threaded through a blood vessel in your neck or groin.
  • When it reaches the block, the stent is inflated. This pushes the plaque against the artery wall. 

After the procedure

  • If they use the femoral artery in your upper leg, you will stay in bed for several hours.
  • You should not lift anything heavier than 5 or 10 pounds to avoid reopening the incision.
  • You should take showers instead of baths for a few days.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • As you leave, you will probably be given a prescription for blood thinning medications.
  • You will be scheduled for follow-up appointments. 

Carotid Endarterectomy: What to expect

Before the procedure

  • You may be told to take aspirin beginning three or five days before your procedure to thin the blood and stop other clots from forming.
  • On the day of the procedure, you may be told not to eat or drink.
  • Talk to your doctor to understand exactly what to do about medications, vitamins or supplements you are taking.

During the procedure

  • A small incision is made next to the blocked artery.
  • Either the blood flowing through it is shut off (the carotid artery on the other side still gets enough blood to your brain) or a blood detour known as a shunt is put in.
  • A cut is made into the blocked section.
  • The surgeon peels out the inner lining of the artery, removing the plaque.
  • After removing the clamps or shunt, the surgeon stitches the artery closed. 

After the procedure

  • You will usually be in the recovery room before returning to your hospital room.
  • You may stay in the hospital for one to two days. During this time, your physician will monitor your progress.
  • Your physician may recommend you avoid driving for several weeks after the procedure. Make sure you understand your doctor's instructions about lifting and other physical activities before leaving the hospital.
  • Talk to your doctor about showering and bathing.
  • You should not drive a car while on pain medication.

Are You at Risk?


Are you at risk for vascular disease, diabetes, or stroke? Take our free Health Aware online assessments and learn your risk today.

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