What is recovery like after carotid endarterectomy?

Recovery. Typically people go home the next morning with just the sensation that they have a "stiff neck" rather than a lot of pain. We ask them to take it easy until the follow up visit after which they can usually return to normal activity levels.
One Night Stay. Typically people spend one night in the intensive care unit before going home the next day. A sore throat is common as is numbness of the neck / chin / lip of the operated side. The numbness improves over 6 months. Pain is surprisingly not the most common complaint. High or low blood pressure, the complication of stroke or a heart attack may keep a patient in the hospital longer.
Usually 24-48 hours. Endarterectomy is the gold standard for symptomatic carotid disease. Recovery can be quick - just 24-48 hours. Many surgeons have a 2% peri operative rate of stroke, less than 1% risk of peri operative death. There is some risk to nerves that control the voice box but should an injury occur it is usually temporary. The key is to ask your surgeon what his personal complication rates are.

Related Questions

What was your recovery like after carotid endarterectomy: is stroke something that may happen?

Safe operation . Endarterectomy is the gold standard for symptomatic carotid disease. It is safe and effective. Many surgeons have a 2% peri operative rate of stroke, less than 1% risk of peri operative death. There is some risk to nerves that control the voice box but should an injury occur it is usually temporary. The key is to ask your surgeon about his or her personal complication rates. Read more...
Depends . Recovery from surgery is quick usually within two weeks unless patient has a stroke then recovery is variable . Stroke could occur from surgery , this ranges from 3% if surgery done for asymptomatic blockage to 5-7% if done for TIA or stroke or even 10% in redo carotid surgery, although most vascular surgeons with good experience has this risk down to less than 1%. Read more...

Can my artery reclog after carotid endarterectomy?

Yes. The recurrence rates after endarterectomy depend in a number of factors such as smoking, patch use for angioplasty and on going problems with managing the risk factors of peripheral vascular disease. Women may also be more likely to have recurrent disease. Read more...
Yes. Scar and plaque may form. Need to be followed with yearly ultrasounds. If severe blockage returns, then carotid stent indicated. Read more...
Blocked again? Up to 18-20% of people can develop more that 50% blockage in a carotid that had been fixed before but of all those people only 1% of them develop enough blockage beyond 50% to need a second procedure. Read more...

How effective is carotid endarterectomy?

Very. We use the endpoint of stroke to define how effective carotid surgery is. Endarterectomy reduces the risk of stroke from 26% to 9% in patients with high grade stenosis (narrowing) who have had mini-strokes or strokes in the past. In people who have not suffered mini-strokes or strokes but have a high grade stenosis, endarterectomy reduces risk of stroke from 10% to less than 5%. Read more...
Remarkably. Carotid endartectomy (cea) is a scientifically proven, remarkably effective procedure which prevents stroke in patients with symptomatic carotid stenosis or high grade asymptomatic stenosis. It is a very durable and long lasting procedure and has a very high success rate when performed by an experienced vascular surgeon. Read more...
Carotid repair? Carotid endarterectomy has been considered the gold standard for repair of carotid narrowing against which any newer method of repair is compared. It is considered very effective in good hands. Read more...

What does it mean to have carotid endarterectomy?

Clearing of Plaque. This is to surgically expose the carotid artery in the neck and to remove the plaque of the diseased artery. Arteries have 3 layers. Plaque / atherosclerosis develops in the inner two layers. The outer layer is the strength layer. These layers peel apart similar to the layers in an onion. Once cleared, the artery is closed using patch to prevent it from scarring down. The goal: prevent strokes. Read more...
Remove plaque. The surgical removal of plaque in the major artery in the neck (carotid) supplying blood to the brain to reduce the chance of stroke. Not everyone with carotid plaque needs surgery. In fact, the vast majority are treated medically. Discuss with your doctor. Read more...
CEA. It is a small surgical procedure to clean out the plaque that is narrowing the carotid artery. Read more...

Any lethal complications to carotid endarterectomy?

Plenty. Most dreaded complication is a stroke, and a minority of these can be lethal. In some patients, bleeding in the surgical bed can lead to a collection of blood/fluid that generate enough pressure to impair airway function, this is a life threatening condition. Heart attacks, pulmonary emboli and arterial dissection can also happen, but fairly rairly. Read more...
Yes. Death can be a complication of carotid surgery but this is very rare. Most people that have carotid disease have coronary heart disease as well. This is why most people need cardiac evaluation prior to carotid surgery. Carotid surgery should be done by a board certified vascular surgeon who has a track record of very low stroke rate and mortality. Read more...