Carotid Artery Aneurysm Surgery

Treating Cardiovascular Diseases in Wisconsin and Northern Illinois

Carotid artery aneurysm surgery is a procedure that treats an aneurysm in a carotid artery. Your carotid arteries are located on either side of your neck.

An aneurysm occurs when a weakened artery wall bulges or balloons. Over time, this weakened area can expand and get progressively thinner. Depending on their location, some aneurysms have a greater risk of rupturing or bursting, while others have a greater risk for causing blood clots to form.

With a carotid artery aneurysm, blood clots are likely to form, which can interfere with blood flow to your brain and increase your risk for a stroke or a transient ischemic attack (TIA), also known as a mini-stroke.

A carotid artery aneurysm can also put pressure on neighboring structures, such as veins and nerves, which can lead to facial swelling, hoarseness or difficulty swallowing.

In addition to good blood pressure control, your physician may recommend carotid artery aneurysm surgery to treat this condition. This decision is based onyour aneurysm’s size, specific location, potential risks and your health history.

Carotid artery aneurysm surgerycan be performed two ways:

  • An endovascular repair involves the surgeon making an incision in your groin. Using wires and catheters and guided by special X-rays, the surgeon inserts a prosthetic stent graft into the carotid artery at the level of the aneurysm.
  • A surgical repair involves the surgeon making an incision in your neck to expose the aneurysm. Using either a vein or artery taken from another part of you body, or an artificial graft, the weakened section of the carotid artery will be bypassed (replaced).

As with all surgeries, these procedures have potential risks. Carotid artery surgery risks include astroke or nerve damage. Many nerves run close to the carotid artery, which could be injured during the procedure or from swelling afterward. 

Preparing for Carotid Artery Aneurysm Surgery

Preparations are different for the two types of procedures. Your doctor will provide specific information based on the type you will be having. With either approach, your physician may order peroperative testing and review and possibly adjust your medications prior to surgery.

Your hospital will pre-register you for surgery by phone. You may be asked to list all your medications and supplements, including their dosages and how often you take them.

What to Expect during Carotid Artery Aneurysm Surgery

Both procedures are typically performed under general anesthesia and take about 2 to 3 hours.

In addition to the surgeon and anesthesiologist, nurses, assistants and X-ray technologists will be with you during your procedure. They all have clearly defined roles to ensure your safety and wellbeing and to make sure your procedure runs smoothly and efficiently.

Recovery after Carotid Artery Aneurysm Surgery

Recoveries are different for the two types of procedures, and your doctor can explain the details as they pertain to you.

When procedures go as expected, you can plan to spend at least one night in an intensive care unit, where you will be monitored closely and evaluated frequently. Depending on your progress, you can expect to recover in the hospital for a day or two afterward. 

After the procedure, you can expect some pain related to the incision. Your physician will address this to keep you comfortable.

Activity will be an important part of your post-surgical recovery. However, your physician may give you specific instructions on the types of activities you can resume, how much weight you can carry and when you can resume driving. You will not be able to drive yourself home from the hospital after this procedure.

Leading the Region in Carotid Artery Aneurysm Surgeries 

Because Aurora Health Care performs a high volume of carotid artery aneurysm surgeries, our patients can be assured of receiving first-rate care with highly trained and experienced physicians and support staff. We also offer you state-of-the-art facilities and equipment.

Aurora doctors are conveniently located throughout eastern Wisconsin and northeastern Illinois. Find a doctor or heart specialist near you. To get a second opinion or if you need assistance finding a provider, please call 888-649-6892.