Endarterectomy is a surgical procedure commonly employed to treat severe atherosclerosis, a build-up of waxy plaque within the walls of an artery. Left untreated, plaque accumulation can restrict blood flow and increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. Depending on the size and location of the build-up, determined in imaging tests, surgical removal may be the best option. Endarterectomy is especially common for treating severe carotid artery disease.
During this procedure, which may be done under local or general anesthesia, the surgeon stops or diverts blood flow through the diseased artery, makes an incision in the vessel wall, and strips out the inner part of the lining that contains the blockage.