An extracranial carotid artery aneurysm is a bulging or ballooning in the wall of the carotid artery in the neck. 

What is surgical repair for an extracranial carotid artery aneurysm?

The mainstay of treatment of extracranial carotid artery aneurysms is surgical repair. The surgical repair entails the resection of that portion of the carotid artery that is involved with the aneurysm, followed by a bypass.

Why is this procedure performed? Why do I need this procedure?

Symptoms for carotid artery aneurysms may include transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) or stroke. In addition, carotid artery aneurysms may form clots that block blood flow to your brain. If this occurs, or in order to prevent this from occurring, treatment may be warranted.

Other symptoms can occur secondary to pressure of the aneurysm on surrounding structures such as veins and nerves. These symptoms can vary, depending upon what is compressed, but may include facial swelling, hoarseness or difficulty swallowing. Rarely, carotid artery aneurysms can rupture, or burst, which is a life-threatening problem.

Each patient is evaluated, and treatment will be individualized for the patient’s circumstances.

Where is the procedure performed and who performs this procedure?

This procedure is performed in the hospital surgical suite by a vascular surgeon.

What are the risks and potential complications of the procedure?

Your doctor will discuss the specific risks and potential benefits of the recommended procedure with you.

Surgical repair usually has no complications, but there may be a risk of injury to the adjacent nerves that affect your tongue and voice. The most concerning risk is risk of stroke, but this is very rare. Your vascular surgeon will discuss the important risks and benefits with you.

Special precautions are taken to decrease these risks, and there may be other possible risks. When you meet with your doctor, please ask questions to make sure you understand the risks of the procedure and why the procedure is recommended.