Carotid Endarterectomy Specialist

Vascular Associates of San Diego

Vein Specialists & Vascular Specialists located in San Diego County, La Mesa, CA

Up to one-third of all strokes are caused by a plaque buildup that narrows the carotid artery and interferes with blood flow to the brain. The skilled team at Vascular Associates of San Diego in La Mesa, California, serving all of San Diego County, treats carotid artery disease with several advanced treatments, including carotid endarterectomy. To learn more about carotid endarterectomy or your risks for carotid artery disease, call the office or use the online booking system today.

Carotid Endarterectomy Q & A

What is carotid endarterectomy?

A carotid endarterectomy is a surgical procedure to remove atherosclerotic plaque from your carotid artery. An endarterectomy prevents a stroke by restoring blood flow to your brain.

Why would I need a carotid endarterectomy?

You may need an endarterectomy when you have carotid artery disease. This condition occurs when cholesterol and other fats build up in the carotid artery. Without treatment, the plaque enlarges and narrows the artery, a condition called carotid stenosis.

Two serious complications occur due to carotid artery disease. First, the plaque may get large enough to stop the flow of blood. Second, the plaque can rupture, allowing a clot to break free and travel into your brain. 

Both complications can cause either a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or a full-blown stroke.

When do vascular specialists perform a carotid endarterectomy?

Vascular Associates of San Diego typically recommends a carotid endarterectomy when 50-79% of the carotid artery is blocked and you had a TIA or stroke. You also need the procedure if you have a severe blockage — 80% or more — even if you haven’t had a stroke.

What happens during a carotid endarterectomy?

Your provider at Vascular Associates of San Diego talks with you about the procedure and the type of anesthesia that’s best for you. Your provider makes an incision in the side of your neck and gets inside the carotid artery, where they remove the plaque clogging the vessel.

After the plaque is cleared away, your surgeon closes the carotid artery with stitches or a graft, and your surgery is finished.

What happens after a carotid endarterectomy?

Your endarterectomy restores blood flow through the carotid artery, but it doesn’t cure the underlying condition. Without ongoing treatment, plaque can build up in the same artery again.

Vascular Associates of San Diego provides comprehensive care, designing a customized treatment plan to help you prevent or slow down the progression of arterial plaque.

They directly treat arterial disease, as well as any underlying conditions that contribute to plaque, such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

Your treatment plan may include a mix of lifestyle recommendations and medications. Lifestyle changes often incorporate weight loss, quitting smoking, and following a healthy diet.

Your provider may prescribe one of many possible medications. You may need blood thinners and anticoagulants, or medications to treat your underlying conditions.

To learn more about carotid artery disease and carotid endarterectomy, call Vascular Associates of San Diego or schedule an appointment online.