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PATIENT INSTRUCTIONS FOR CAROTID ENDARTARECTOMY Introduction Carotid endarterectomy is an operation on the carotid artery and is performed in a hospital operating room. It usually requires general anesthesia and a 1 to 3 day hospital stay. You will be advised on location, date, time, preoperative tests, and diet status prior to surgery. The day of surgery Preoperative: You will be taken to the holding area prior to the procedure to meet with your anesthesiologist. A spouse, family member or close friend may accompany you. Postoperative: After surgery you will be monitored and recovered from anesthesia for 1 to 4 hours in the recovery room. Visitors are not allowed in this specialized area. Then depending on your blood pressure and other conditions you will be transferred to the Intensive Care Unit or a regular hospital room. The day after surgery One of the vascular surgeons from GVA will visit you and assess your status. You will have a chance to ask questions. Provided you are medically ready, you will be discharged home. You will need to arrange for someone to drive you home. Medications: A prescription for pain medicine will be provided for use after discharge from the hospital. You may use acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or other over-the-counter medication as your pain requires. At home care: Limited walking is encouraged as you gain strength and stability. You should resume your normal diet and medications unless instructed otherwise. If you were on Coumadin for your carotid narrowing, it may be discontinued after surgery. The next several days You should not drive for at least several days after surgery and not until you are fully alert and off pain medications and sedatives. Increase your physical activity gradually. Vigorous physical exercises should be avoided for at least two weeks. If you feel well after 4 weeks, you may resume your regular exercise activities. Bandages: Change the bandage daily or as necessary. When the incision is dry, you may leave it uncovered. Sometimes a small incision will be present in the low part of the neck where a drain was placed at surgery. Shaving is allowed as tolerated. Showers: You may shower over your incisions. If there are small tapes (steristrips) on the skin, leave them in place for a week. You may get the tapes wet in the shower and trim loose ends if you desire. It is common to have some swelling and bruising of the neck and skin. Excessive redness and fever are signs of infection and if you notice these symptoms you should call our office nurse for advice. Sutures and follow-up: You will be advised when to return to the office for a follow-up appointment. Usually this is approximately 2 weeks after discharge. Please call and make an appointment.