Carotid Endarterectomy Specialist

David Newell, MD

Cerebrovascular, Spinal, and Brain Tumor Neurosurgery located in Bellevue, WA

Reduced blood flow to your brain increases your risks of stroke, brain damage, and death. David Newell, MD is an award-winning neurologist and cerebrovascular neurosurgeon who specializes in complex surgeries like carotid endarterectomy. If you’re suffering from carotid artery disease, call Dr. Newell’s Seattle, Washington, practice or schedule an appointment online.

Carotid Endarterectomy Q & A

What is a carotid endarterectomy?

Dr. Newell may perform a carotid endarterectomy to remove fatty plaque deposits from your carotid artery. Your carotid arteries are on either side of your neck, and they deliver blood to your head and brain.

During carotid endarterectomy, Dr. Newell makes an incision along the front of your neck to reach your carotid artery. After removing the blockage, he repairs the blood vessel with a patch or stitches. The procedure takes about one to two hours.

Why do I need a carotid endarterectomy?

Carotid endarterectomy is a treatment for carotid artery disease, which occurs when plaque builds up in your carotid arteries and reduces blood flow to your brain. This diminished blood flow increases your risk of stroke.

When you have a stroke, the blood supply to your brain is either significantly reduced or completely interrupted, and this lack of oxygen causes your brain cells to die. Strokes are the most common cause of both permanent disability and death in the United States.

What are the symptoms of carotid artery disease?

Carotid artery disease develops over time, so you may not have symptoms in the early stages. In most cases, the first sign of a serious condition is a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) that temporarily reduces blood flow to your brain.

Indications of a stroke or TIA occur suddenly and include:

  • Dizziness
  • Loss of balance
  • Numbness or weakness in your face or limbs
  • Difficulty speaking or comprehending
  • A severe headache
  • Vision problems in one or both eyes

Your risks of carotid artery disease increase if you have blood pressure, high cholesterol, or a condition like diabetes or sleep apnea, or if you use tobacco or have a family history of the disease. It’s also tied to obesity and sedentary lifestyles.

What can I expect following a carotid endarterectomy?

Following your carotid endarterectomy, you stay in the hospital for up to three days, lying flat and moving your head as little as possible. It’s common to experience aching in your neck, but this fades within a few weeks.

After being released from the hospital, it’s important to avoid strenuous physical activities for at least one week. Dr. Newell closely monitors your recovery, which can take two weeks.

To learn more about carotid endarterectomy, call David Newell, MD or schedule an appointment online.