Carotid Artery Disease

Like many types of vascular disease, carotid artery disease can be treated more than one way, but many practices today only do stenting. 

At the Wake Forest Baptist Health Vascular Center, we believe our patients should have options. That's why our physicians have expertise in both open and endovascular surgery.

Surgical Treatment Options for Carotid Artery Disease

We do not always require general anesthesia for our carotid surgery patients, even if you need an open procedure such as an endarterectomy. That means some of our patients can undergo open surgery without being put to sleep.

  • Carotid endarterectomy: Your doctor removes plaque buildup and repairs your carotid artery with a patch to improve blood flow. This procedure is open surgery and requires an incision in the front of your neck. 
  • Carotid stenting: Your doctor inserts a thin tube called a catheter through an artery in your groin and, with the help of X-ray imaging, moves the catheter  up the carotid artery. The catheter helps your doctor position a stent in the artery, which improves blood flow. Your doctor also inserts a stent, or metal tube, in the artery to provide extra support. As a catheter-based technique, this procedure only requires a tiny incision in your groin. 

Only you and your doctor can decide which type of surgery is right for you. All of our patients receive pre-operative counseling to help them understand the risks and benefits of both procedures. 

Managing Carotid Artery Disease 

At the Vascular Center, we believe it's just as important to manage your disease as it is to treat it. For some patients, medical management may even be an effective alternative to surgery. 

If you have mild or moderate blockage, or if you have already undergone surgery, we may prescribe one or more of the following: 

  • Hyperlipidemia management
  • Medications
  • Lifestyle change, such as quitting smoking or losing weight
  • Exercise
  • Regular follow-up care to monitor your condition 


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Last Updated: 08-02-2013
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Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.