What is an endarterectomy for atherosclerosis/PAD/PVD?

An atherosclerosis endarterectomy is the open surgical removal of plaque from a blood vessel.

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

The goal of treatment is to eliminate the build-up of plaque in your arteries.

You may need this atherosclerosis endarterectomy procedure if your arteries become too narrowed or blocked from plaque inside the artery walls. If arteries are blocked, blood cannot get through to nourish the tissues, causing the muscles of the lower extremities to cramp and lose strength. In severe cases, you may experience pain at rest or develop ulcers on your feet.

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 atherosclerosis endarterectomy 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.

Endarterectomy usually has no complications, but as with any surgery, there is a risk of complications. An unusual complication is the re-blockage of the artery (restenosis) that may occur later, especially if you smoke cigarettes.

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 atherosclerosis endarterectomy procedure and why the procedure is recommended.