Endarterectomy is a surgery to remove build-up in blood vessels. It is most often done in:
Carotid arteries—in the neck that supply blood to the brain
Aorta—largest artery in body, affects blood flow to entire body
Iliac and femoral arteries—in the legs
Renal arteries—kidney blood supply
Reasons for Procedure
Plaque is a buildup on the lining of blood vessels. It can cause the artery to narrow and harden. This buildup and damage to the blood vessel is known as atherosclerosis. The plaque can slow and even stop blood flow. It can lead to stroke, weakness, cramps and aching.
Endarterectomy is done to remove the buildup. It should improve blood flow. The symptoms should also improve.
Local anesthesia—numbs an area but you will be awake
Description of the Procedure
Incisions will be made over the artery. Blood flow can be stopped to some areas until the work is done. Blood flow through the neck cannot be stopped. A new pathway will be made to allow blood flow while the artery is cleared out. A small tube or a piece of a vein may be used to create the new path.
A tube will be inserted into the artery. A sharp blade will trim the plaque away from the wall. A device can also help to catch and pull out loose plaque. The artery and skin will then be closed with sutures or staples.
How Long Will It Take?
The length will depend on the amount of plaque and place. It often takes several hours.
How Much Will It Hurt?
There will be some pain at the incisions. Medicine can help to ease pain.
Average Hospital Stay
You may be able to leave the same day or need to stay 1 day to 1 week. The stay may be longer if problems happen.
At the Hospital
Care after the procedure may include:
Monitor for problems such as bleeding, clotting, or infection.
Steps to manage pain.
Hospital staff will take steps to lower the risk of infection such as:
Wash their hands.
Wear gloves or masks.
Keep your incisions covered.
Steps you can take to lower the risk of infection include:
Wash your hands often. Remind visitors and care team to do the same.
Remind your care team to wear gloves or masks.
Do not allow others to touch your wounds.
Plaque can build up again. Medicine and a healthy diet may stop or slow more plaque growth.
Call Your Doctor
After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
Signs of infection, including fever and chills
Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the incision site
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at email@example.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.