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What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Endarterectomy?

Atherosclerosis is hardening of a blood vessel from a build up of plaque. Plaque is made of fatty deposits, cholesterol, and calcium. It builds on the inside lining of arteries. This causes the artery to narrow and harden. As plaque builds up, it can slow and even stop blood flow.

Endarterectomy is a surgery to remove this build-up and improve blood flow. Surgery is most often performed on:

  • Carotid arteries in the neck that supply the brain—most common use of endarterectomy
  • Aorta—a major artery that runs from the heart to the abdomen
  • Iliac and femoral arteries—supply the legs
  • Renal (kidney) arteries

Bilateral Carotid Artery Atherosclerosis
Bilateral Carotid Artery Atherosclerosis
© 2009 Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

This surgery is done to remove the build-up of deposits and improve blood flow. After the surgery, the symptoms of reduced blood flow (eg, stroke , digestive problems, leg cramps) should end.

Possible Complications

If you are planning to have endarterectomy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Bleeding
  • Stroke (particularly if the carotid arteries are involved)
  • Blood clots
  • Adverse reaction to the anesthesia
  • Infection

Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Poor overall health
  • Advanced age
  • Plaque build-up in other vessels
  • Other serious diseases (eg, heart failure , uncontrolled high blood pressure , diabetes , cancer , kidney disease )

Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the procedure.

Call Your Doctor

After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Signs of infection, including fever and chills *...