Carotid Artery Problems: Surgery for TIA

Cross section of carotid artery showing plaque buildup.

The carotid artery is a blood vessel in your neck. A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is when narrowing in this artery blocks blood to your brain for a short time. It's caused by a substance called plaque that has built up in your artery. A TIA doesn't cause permanent damage to the brain. Symptoms go away within 24 hours. But a TIA is a warning sign that you may have a stroke in the near future. You and your healthcare provider will discuss the best treatment plan for you.

Your treatment plan

Surgery is one way to treat a TIA. The need for surgery depends on your symptoms. It also depends on how narrow your carotid artery is. If you have mild narrowing but have had more than one TIA, you may need surgery. If you have severe narrowing and no TIA, you may still need surgery. This is because your risk of stroke may be high.

The surgery is called a carotid endarterectomy. This removes plaque from inside of your carotid artery. The inside of your carotid artery is made wider and smoother. This helps your blood flow normally to your brain. It reduces the chance of you having a stroke.

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