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Vascular Center


Carotid Artery Endarterectomy

Carotid Endarterectomy is the most common non-cardiac vascular procedure performed nationwide. It is performed to remove fatty deposits, also called atherosclerotic plaques, from the carotid artery. The carotid artery travels through the neck and carries oxygen-rich blood to the brain. 

Reasons for the procedure
This operation is performed to help prevent a stroke and transient ischemic attacks (TIAs)  or mini stroke by restoring blood flow to the brain. Patient recovering from a carotid endarterectomy procedureTIA’s happen when the blood supply to the brain is blocked temporarily. People with TIAs have symptoms of a stroke, but unlike a stroke, the symptoms resolve within 24 hours. TIAs are considered a warning sign that patients are at increased risk of stroke. At Maine Medical Center, our expert surgeons perform over 200 carotid endarterectomies every year; more than any other hospital in Northern New England! 

In preparation for your surgery we have prepared a patient teaching brochure for your review. Please take a moment to read through it as it will answer many of your questions about what to expect throughout your stay at Maine Medical Center. It is our goal to support you and answer any questions you and your loved ones have about what to expect leading up to, during, and after your discharge from the hospital. 

In the days leading up to your operation:

  • You will probably continue to take all major medications; check with your surgeon
  • If not already on a beta-blocker, you will be started on a medication called “Lopressor” (if you do not have a contra-indication) to decrease the risk of heart related complications
  • The night before surgery do NOT eat anything after midnight. You may have SMALL sips of CLEAR liquids (black coffee, black tea, apple juice, water) up to four hours before your procedure. 
The day of your operation please:
  • Check in 90 minutes prior to your surgery at the Ambulatory Surgical Unit (next to the emergency room)
  • Leave all valuables and medications at home

Average Hospital Stay after surgery: 1 overnight.
Most patients may plan to be discharged by 10am the day following their operation. You will not be allowed to drive yourself home so please arrange for a ride home!

The average recovery time is 3-4 weeks. 

Wallace Rich's comments “It couldn’t be done any better than this.
"It couldn't be done any better than this."   -- Wallace Rich

Successful completion of this procedure reduces the risk for stroke and recurrent TIA's. Existing weakness of the arm or leg will be unchanged.

Before you go home you will be provided with discharge instructions including:

  • Activity restrictions
  • Diet
  • Incision or wound care
  • Pain relief
  • When to call your physician for a follow up appointment
  • Who to call with any questions
Learn how to lower your risk factors
View online resources for vascular disease
Health Information

22 Bramhall Street | Portland, Maine 04102-3175 | (207) 662-0111