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Carotid Endarterectomy


Carotid endarterectomy (CEA) is a surgery done to remove plaque (fatty deposits) from inside your carotid artery. The carotid artery is a blood vessel found in both sides of your neck. Plaque may build up inside your carotid artery and decrease blood flow to your brain. A piece of plaque may also break free and cause a stroke.

Carotid Artery



  • Aspirin: This helps thin the blood to keep blood clots from forming. If you are told to take aspirin, do not take acetaminophen or ibuprofen instead. Do not take more or less aspirin than directed. This medicine makes it more likely for you to bleed or bruise.
  • Blood thinners: This helps keep blood clots from forming. You may be more likely to bleed or bruise. Take as directed.
  • Blood pressure medicine: This medicine may be given to lower your blood pressure. Keeping your blood pressure under control will protect your surgery site from breaking open.
  • Cholesterol medicine: This is given to help lower the amount of cholesterol in your blood. It may help decrease new plaque from forming in your carotid artery.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider or vascular surgeon as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Wound care:

Carefully wash the wound with soap and water. Dry the area and put on new, clean bandages as directed. Change your bandages if they get wet or dirty.


  • Do not smoke: If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Smoking increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you need help quitting.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Ask your healthcare provider how much you should weigh. Ask him to help you create a weight loss plan if you are overweight.

Contact your healthcare provider or vascular surgeon if:

  • You have nausea or vomiting.
  • You have a fever or chills.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have chest pain that spreads to your arms, jaw, or back. You may also have sweating or feel sick to your stomach.
  • You have sudden trouble speaking or moving parts of your body. You may also have blurred vision, dizziness, or trouble thinking clearly.
  • Your incision is swollen, red, or has pus coming from it.
  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • Your stitches come apart.
  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and short of breath.
  • You have chest pain when you take a deep breath or cough. You may cough up blood.
  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2018 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.