Preparing for Carotid Endarterectomy

Carotid endarterectomy removes plaque that has built up in your carotid artery. This helps reduce your risk for stroke. You will be told how to prepare for your procedure. Be sure to follow all of the instructions you are given.

Doctor and man talking.

A week before

Before the procedure, be sure to:

  • Tell your doctor about any allergies you have.

  • Tell your doctor about all medicines you take. This includes over-the-counter medicines, herbs, and supplements. Be sure to mention if you are taking blood thinners.

  • Make medicine changes as directed by your doctor. You may need to stop taking certain medicines you normally take. Or you may be told to start taking certain medicines before surgery.

The day before

Before you have your procedure, be sure to:

  • Arrange for a ride home when your hospital recovery is finished. An adult family member or friend should drive you home.

  • Don’t eat or drink after midnight, the night before the procedure. Ask your doctor whether you should continue to take any medicines during this period.

  • Follow any other instructions you are given.

On the day of the procedure

When you arrive at the hospital, you’ll change into a hospital gown. Hospital staff will prepare you for the procedure. An IV line will be started to provide you with fluids and medicines. You will then be taken to the room where the procedure is done.

Risks and possible complications

The risks of this procedure include:

  • TIA or stroke

  • Bleeding at the incision site

  • Headache

  • Bleeding into the brain

  • Seizure

  • Heart attack

  • Nerve injury leading to temporary or permanent hoarseness, numbness, or swallowing problems

  • Death