Decision Assist

Carotid artery surgery


The purpose of this tool is to help you decide whether or not to have carotid artery surgery. When making a decision like this, you must balance:

This tool is not a substitute for professional medical care and advice. Work with your doctor to help you make this decision. A second opinion from another doctor may be valuable. There is usually no exact “right” or “wrong” answer.

Your physician may make certain recommendations to you. However, the final decision about whether to have this procedure rests with you.

What is the surgery?

The carotid arteries in your neck are a major source of blood flow to the brain. Carotid artery surgery is a surgical procedure to restore adequate blood flow to the brain when a carotid artery is partially blocked.


The procedure may be used to treat symptoms of carotid artery blockage, such as:

The procedure may also be used to treat patients with severe blockage without symptoms.

The main type of carotid artery surgery is carotid endarterectomy. Carotid endarterectomy is a surgical procedure that cleans out and opens up the narrowed carotid artery.

Carotid artery surgery - series
Click the icon to see an illustrated series detailing carotid artery surgery.

Key points

How much time this decision tool will take

What this tool will provide

Review Date: 12/31/2010
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Previously reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. Previously reviewed by J.A. Lee, MD, Division of Surgery, UCSF, San Francisco, CA (6/6/2008).

  • Carotid endarterectomy -- an evidence-based review: report of the Therapeutics and Technology Assessment Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology. Neurology. September 27, 2005;65(6):794-801.
  • Goldstein LB. Prevention and management of stroke. In: Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, eds. Libby: Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 8th ed. St. Louis, Mo: WB Saunders; 2007:chap 58.
  • Ringleb PA, Chatellier G, Hacke W, Favre JP, Bartoli JM, Eckstein HH, et al. Safety of endovascular treatment of carotid artery stenosis compared with surgical treatment: a meta-analysis. J Vasc Surg. 2008 Feb;47(2):350-5.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.