This operation is to help reduce your chance of having a stroke in the future.
You will be having an operation to correct the narrowed area of your carotid artery. This involves removing the tight narrowing (stenosis) in your carotid artery. Some surgeons repair the artery with a patch of artificial material.
This operation can be performed using either a general or local anaesthetic. A general anaesthetic will mean that you are asleep for the whole operation. However, it is becoming increasingly common to perform this operation using a local anaesthetic to numb the area. This technique may be used in combination with sedation to make you a little sleepy. This type of anaesthetic allows careful monitoring of your speech and arm/leg movements during the operation.
Risks and complications
Carotid artery surgery is a major operation which carries a 5% risk (1 in 20 chance) of stroke or death during or just after the operation.However, the risk of this occurring without surgery is significantly higher.
There are other more general risks which are uncommon and include bleeding, wound infection or numbness over the wound. All measures are taken to reduce these risks.
There are several nerves that are near the carotid artery. Injury or bruising to these nerves can cause temporary weakness of the tongue or side of the face, or difficulty swallowing. This usually recovers over a few days and is rarely permanent.
If you still have some weakness of your arm or leg following a previous stroke, this may be a little worse immediately after the operation. This will slowly recover until you reach the same level of weakness that was present before the operation. Carotid surgery does not improve longstanding weakness from a previous stroke.
It is very uncommon to develop further problems in the long term, but rarely there can be further narrowing or infection in the artery.
Cheltenham Vascular Unit
The carotid arteries are found in your neck and form part of the main blood supply that carries oxygen to your brain.
Sometimes the artery becomes narrow due to arterial disease (atherosclerosis) which can be caused by a number factors including smoking, high cholesterol, obesity, lack of exercise and family history.
The narrowing in your carotid artery can cause ‘mini strokes’ otherwise known as transient ischaemic attacks (TIA’s) and can result in the following:
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||temporary blindness in one eye lasting a few minutes
||weakness of one side of the body usually lasting less than 24 hours
||difficulty talking or temporary confusion usually lasting less than 24 hours
This is a warning sign that you are at risk of suffering a major stroke in the future and surgery can help to reduce that risk.