The carotid arteries, which run along the sides of the neck, supply oxygen-rich blood to the brain. Blockages or narrowing inside these arteries can impede the flow of blood to the brain and raise the risk of stroke. Such restriction of blood flow can occur when fatty atherosclerotic "plaque" builds up inside the carotid arteries. The surgeons of White Plains Hospital offer surgery to remove plaque from the carotid arteries, as a means of reducing stroke risk.
Some people with advanced carotid artery disease experience numbness, weakness, slurred speech, or vision problems. Those with mild to moderate disease may have no symptoms at all.
Carotid artery disease is most commonly diagnosed using a special form of ultrasound. Carotid duplex ultrasound uses high-energy sound waves to determine how well blood is flowing through the carotid arteries. Carotid duplex ultrasound is available at White Plains Hospital. Other tests sometimes used to diagnosis carotid artery disease include angiography (in which x-rays and a special dye are used to visualize the arteries) and magnetic resonance angiography (which generates images of the arteries without using x-rays).
Surgical removal of plaque from inside the carotid arteries is called "endarterectomy," and may be offered to patients whose carotid arteries are blocked 50 percent or more. Removing the plaque restores normal, healthy blood flow through the artery. The procedure is performed at White Plains Hospital under regional anesthesia (cervical block), and the patient typically stays overnight.