CEA is a surgery that removes dangerous, vessel-narrowing plaque deposits from one of your carotid arteries. Located on either side of your neck, these all-important vessels are tasked with carrying oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to your brain.
Plaque is a sticky substance that consists mostly of dietary fats and cholesterol. When it builds up inside a carotid artery, it can slow blood flow to your brain. If blood flow to your brain becomes too slow or blocked, it can cause a disabling or life-threatening stroke.
The primary goal of CEA is stroke prevention. Stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death in the United States, and it’s a problem that’s often preventable.
CEA is typically the first-line treatment option for patients with carotid artery disease who are experiencing signs of reduced blood flow (carotid stenosis) to the brain. It’s also the first-line preventive treatment recommendation when testing reveals a significant blockage that hasn’t yet caused any symptoms.
The team at Advanced Vascular & Vein Associates uses a painless, noninvasive diagnostic test called a carotid ultrasound to view the internal structure of your carotid arteries. With this test, they can see whether your arteries are affected by plaque buildup, and, if so, how narrow they’ve become.
They may also use a Doppler carotid ultrasound to see how well blood flows through your carotid arteries. If either test shows considerable plaque deposits, vessel narrowing, or blood flow reduction, they may recommend a CEA procedure.
CEA surgery is an in-patient procedure that takes about two hours to complete. It can be done under general anesthesia that puts you to sleep, or with regional anesthesia that allows you to remain awake.
The surgical team at Advanced Vascular & Vein Associates usually performs CEA surgery in four steps. First, they make a small incision in your neck near the site of the blockage. Then, they insert a tiny tube in your artery to temporarily reroute your blood flow around the affected area.
Once the blocked or narrowed vessel section is isolated, they remove the plaque. Lastly, they repair the artery with a patch of material (graft) that helps widen the vessel and prevent future narrowing.
CEA is the most performed surgical treatment for carotid artery disease, and for good reason: It’s highly effective for preventing stroke. Even if you’ve already had a stroke related to carotid stenosis, a CEA procedure can cut your stroke risk by a third for the first three years following surgery.
To support treatment success and help prevent future plaque buildup and arterial narrowing, the team at Advanced Vascular & Vein Associates may advise you to implement a variety of heart-healthy lifestyle modifications, ranging from dietary changes and increased activity to stress reduction and cholesterol management.
To learn more about CEA surgery at Advanced Vascular & Vein Associates, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.