The only time that a carotid endarterectomy is indicated is if the patient has been found to have enlarged or atherosclerotic plaque in his carotids. In other words, the operation should be performed as part of an overall treatment plan for high blood pressure and/or risk factors for stroke such as diabetes or smoking.
What are some complications from a carotid endarterectomy?
Complications can occur after any surgery, but they are more common with this operation than with others because it involves removing all of the arteries in one area rather than just a segment or two. Unlike most operations where there may be bleeding into surrounding tissues (such as during heart bypass) since all major vessels along both sides of the neck were removed at once, bleeding occurs more frequently on both sides of the neck because there is not enough collateral flow to keep up with blood loss following removal of so many large veins. When bleeding occurs on one side, it often bleeds down onto the opposite side unless careful attention to control is given before closing off circulation completely by tying off all arteries on that side first (called hemostasis). If too much clotting material accumulates within an artery due to poor positioning during ligation and subsequent passage through an interventional catheter or sheath then embolization will fail resulting in continued tortuous flow which does little good except possibly causing damage further downstream (this problem has