Carotid Arteries

Carotid Artery Disease

The carotid arteries are the main blood vessels in the neck, supplying blood to the brain, neck, and face. When the arteries harden, called atherosclerosis, plaque builds up and causes carotid artery stenosis. While symptoms may not be noticeable, if plaque builds up too much, it could lead to a stroke, which damages the brain. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, strokes are the third leading cause of death in the United States. Approximately 80 percent of strokes are “ischemic strokes,” which means circulation to the brain is stopped because of carotid artery blockage. This scenario is much like what happens with plaque build up in the heart, which can lead to a heart attack.

A carotid endarterectomy is a vascular operation in which the surgeon opens the carotid artery in the neck and removes the plaque, thus, relieving the blockage. It has a 95, or better, percent success rate and is performed on a routine basis by the surgeons at the Vascular Center. The operation requires an overnight stay at the hospital.

Carotid Stenting is a balloon with a stent in the neck artery supplying the brain. Currently, it serves as a fall back for patients who cannot undergo the more common / safer Carotid Endarterectomy procedure.

Carotid Stenting


“I’ve had my veins stripped 2 or 3 times but it doesn’t work like Dr. Esses’s laser.” – Patsy Merritt, Nurse

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