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Carotid Artery Disease

Joseph F. Popovich, MD, FACS -  - General & Vascular Surgeon

Joseph F. Popovich, MD, FACS

General & Vascular Surgeon located in Jersey City, NJ

Plaque buildup can affect any artery in your body, including the carotid, which supplies blood to your brain. If you have carotid artery disease and you’re at risk of having a stroke, you may need a carotid endarterectomy, a surgical procedure that removes the plaque. Joseph F. Popovich, MD, FACS, is one of the best vascular surgeons in New Jersey and can perform the necessary procedure to improve your health and reduce your risk of stroke. If you live near Jersey City, New Jersey, and would like a consultation, call the office or book an appointment online.

Carotid Artery Disease Q & A

What is carotid artery disease?

Carotid artery disease is marked by the buildup of plaque, or fatty deposits, along the walls of your carotid artery, which is the artery that supplies blood to your head and brain. A blockage in this artery increases your risk of having a stroke, which is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States.

You may be at risk of developing carotid artery disease if you have:

  • Hypertension or diabetes
  • Family history of carotid artery disease
  • Obesity
  • High blood lipid levels, such as cholesterol or triglycerides

Tobacco use and a lack of exercise also increase your risk.

How do I know if I have carotid artery disease?

Carotid artery disease develops slowly and you may not experience any symptoms, so it may go unnoticed until you have a transient ischemic attack (TIA), which is a shortage of oxygen to the brain, or a stroke.

Symptoms that may indicate you’re having a TIA or stroke include:

  • Weakness or numbness to the face, arms, or hands
  • Difficulty speaking or seeing
  • Dizziness or loss of balance
  • Severe headache

These symptoms come on very suddenly and require immediate medical attention.

What is carotid endarterectomy?

A carotid endarterectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the plaque in your carotid artery to improve blood flow to your brain. Dr. Popovich is a skilled vascular surgeon and performs this procedure with care and confidence.

During the procedure, he cuts open the affected portion of your artery and removes the plaque. He then closes your artery with stitches or a graft. Due to the nature of the surgery, a carotid endarterectomy is performed under general anesthesia and requires a hospital stay for monitoring.

Your neck may hurt and you may find swallowing difficult for the first few days after surgery. To prevent blood clots, your doctor may prescribe anticoagulants following your carotid endarterectomy.

What happens after my carotid endarterectomy?

After you’ve been discharged from the hospital, Dr. Popovich may have you come to the office for a follow-up visit so he can evaluate your surgical wound.

Dr. Popovich can clean up your arteries and reduce your risk of having a stroke in the immediate future, but he can’t prevent your arteries from clogging again. To prevent the additional buildup of plaque along your artery walls, he recommends you follow a heart-healthy diet filled with foods low in saturated fat and high in fiber. He also recommends an exercise program that fits your fitness level.

For surgical management of your carotid artery disease, call Dr. Popovich’s office, or schedule an appointment online.