Endarterectomy is a procedure done specifically for the treatment of carotid artery disease. The procedure requires the removal of part of the lining of the artery. Although it may sound risky, it is very effective for those with carotid artery disease. Carotid artery disease is a result of narrowing of the carotid arteries, typically due to atherosclerosis. Sometimes the plaque build-up is so bad that it is best just to remove the whole lining altogether. There are a couple of different techniques for carotid endarterectomy. If you are suffering from carotid artery disease, endarterectomy may be the best method of treatment for you.
Plaque does not only build up on your teeth, but it also builds up in your arteries. Plaque is a result of your diet. You do not get plaque build up from fruits and vegetables. It comes from a high-fat diet. The foods you eat are broken down, and when you eat poorly, sometimes that fat creates plaques in the arteries, which affects not only your heart but also your brain. Atherosclerosis is the build-up of plaque in the arteries. Atherosclerosis can be treated without surgery if diagnosed early. If not, surgery is typically the only option.
Carotid arteries are important because they supply blood and oxygen to the brain. The arteries rest on both sides of the next. They are large blood vessels; that must be clear to allow the proper amount of blood and oxygen to flow. As plaque builds up, it narrows the carotid arteries. It can even get to the point that the arteries become completely blocked. This is very serious because if blood and oxygen cannot flow to the brain, you are at risk for a stroke. If the condition is diagnosed early, you can usually change your diet which helps to reverse carotid artery disease. If not, you must undergo surgery.
Endarterectomy is one procedure done to treat carotid artery disease. The artery is a muscular tube containing three layers. The inner layer is the main one affected. The inner layer is made of epithelial cells, which are the same cells that make up the skin. These cells are smooth which is important for blood flow. Plaque buildup makes walls hard, and blood does not flow as easily. A doctor can typically hear a change in the pulse of the carotid artery. If they notice an abnormal pulse, they will proceed with other diagnostic tests.
The first method of endarterectomy simply requires opening the artery and removing the plaque. The doctor will put you under anesthesia. Sometimes they use general anesthesia and other times they will use local anesthesia depending on the person and the situation. The doctor makes an incision in the neck. He then cuts the artery in the area the plaque is located. Most of the time it is one main spot where the plaque has built up. The doctor removes the plaque with surgical tools. Once the plaque is removed, the doctor stitches the artery back up, and blood flow returns to normal.
The second method of endarterectomy is known as eversion carotid endarterectomy. This procedure is similar to the first method except the artery is turned inside out. To do that, the artery is removed from the neck. Once all the plaque is removed, the doctor will put the artery back in place. The plaque is removed much quicker which makes this procedure slightly better than the former. This procedure has also shown to have a better prognosis. There is a lower risk of plaque buildup after the procedure. The risk of stroke goes down drastically as well.
Risk & Benefits
Both procedures have their risk and benefits. It is up to the doctor to determine which procedure is best for you. Opening the neck cavity and exposing the artery is a risk. There is a risk of infection and blood loss. The good thing about surgery is that it does not require the use of stents and other things. Once the plaque is removed, you are good to go. Blood flow is restored, and your risk of stroke is lowered. Once this procedure is done, you should not need another one. The best way to avoid having to do this all over again is changing your habits. Especially your eating habits. Eating foods low in fat will help. Lowering your cholesterol levels with more fruits, veggies, and lean meats will help make a good prognosis. You cannot go back to doing the same things and think you are not going to get the same result.
Endarterectomy is a procedure that can save your life. This method of treatment is only done on those whose carotid arteries are blocked at least by 50%. Stroke a serious condition and if it can be prevented, it should. If you are suffering from carotid artery disease, you should ask your doctor about an endarterectomy. That may be the best method of treatment. The most important thing is taking care of yourself after the procedure. It is not enough to just have surgery if you are not going to change your habits.
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