An endarterectomy is the surgical removal of plaque from the inner lining of an artery that has become blocked or narrowed by fatty plaque buildup (atherosclerosis). Without an endarterectomy, arterial plaque can rupture, allowing small pieces of plaque and blood clots to travel and cut off blood flow to vital organs and tissues. This can result in a stroke or heart attack.

Risk factors for atherosclerosis include diabetes, high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, lack of physical activity, obesity, saturated fats, and smoking. Family history can also play a factor in your risk level. 

To diagnose the severity and location of the blockage, an ultrasound or angiogram using contrast fluid and an x-ray may be performed. If the blockage is severe enough, an endarterectomy may be recommended.

Dependent on the location of the blockage, a shunt (tube) would be inserted above and below the blockage to allow continued blood flow while the plaque is being removed from the artery. Once the plaque or clot is removed, the artery may be widened for continue free blood flow using a graft (manmade tube) to keep the artery open.  

Your stay in the hospital may be determined by the location of your endarterectomy, and you should arrange for a ride home once you are released. A follow-up appointment is typically scheduled two weeks after surgery.

Guidelines to follow during recovery include:

  • Avoid lifting objects more than 10 pounds for a week or otherwise instructed

  • Do not drive until cleared to do so

  • Keep the incision or puncture site clean and dry

  • Take medications as prescribed


The Patient Experience

Dr. Robbins looked at my imaging and made an appointment that same day for me to come in. At Vascular Tyler, it’s just like a family environment every time I come in here. If I have to go the doctor’s (office), this is where I want to go.
L. Cunningham, Patient
We don’t want to spend a whole lot of time with rehabilitation or in some sort of medical facility, so it was great discovering that there’s only little or no downtime. It was a matter of hours instead of days or weeks.
B. Finch, Patient
I had excruciating pain and was told I needed a knee replacement. But Dr. Robbins said I just need vascular surgery. They gave me relief from my pain, and they’re kind and interested in you as a patient and a person. This is the place to come.
M. Finch, Patient

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