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Carotid surgery

Head and neck artery surgery

Carotid surgery can be carried out by HCA UK’s experts to unblock the carotid artery to restore blood flow


Carotid surgery (carotid endarterectomy) may be carried out if you have had a mini-stroke, sudden loss of vision in one eye, or a major stroke. This is due to carotid artery disease, which is the narrowing of the main artery that leads to your brain from your neck. The aim of carotid surgery is to prevent complications in the future.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    Carotid surgery usually takes one to two hours and is carried out under general or local anaesthetic. During surgery, your surgeon will decide whether to use a temporary shunt (hollow tube) to maintain adequate blood flow to the brain. When the surgeon has accessed your artery, it is clamped to stop the blood flowing and an opening is made across the length of the narrowing. If a shunt is to be used, it will be inserted. The surgeon removes the inner lining of the narrowed section of your artery, with any fatty deposits or plaque. Once the narrowing has been removed, the artery opening will either be closed with stitches or a special patch.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Before your treatment, your consultant will carefully explain the procedure to you and answer any questions you might have. The procedure itself may be carried out with a local anaesthetic or you may have a general anaesthetic, which means you’ll be asleep during surgery. You may be asked to avoid eating or drinking a few hours before the procedure. As with all surgery, there may be some risks or side effects involved. Your consultant will explain these to you.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    After your surgery, you will be moved to the recovery area, where you'll be looked after by our team of consultants and nurse specialists. You may have some discomfort in your neck where the cut was made but this will be controlled with painkillers. You may also experience some numbness around the wound, which disappears after a while. Most people can eat and drink a few hours after surgery and are able to leave hospital within 48 hours. The majority of people are able to drive two to three weeks afterwards and can return to work after three or four weeks.
Consultant in theatres

Our consultants

We're proud to work with leading experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Request an appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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