Serious complications from carotid endarterectomy (CEA) are uncommon, but they do occur. For example, there's a small risk of having a stroke during or after the surgery. This is because the procedure can dislodge blood clots, which may then block an artery.
There's also a small risk of brain damage, heart attack, or death. To reduce your risk, work with a surgeon who has experience with CEA.
Although uncommon, CEA also can cause less serious complications. Problems may occur during surgery, such as a bad reaction to the anesthesia, bleeding, or infection. Short-term nerve injury may cause numbness in your face or tongue. This complication usually goes away within a month.
Certain factors may raise your risk for CEA complications. For example, women are at higher risk for complications than men. Other risk factors include having diabetes or other serious medical conditions. People who are older than 75 and have other risk factors also are at higher risk.
Talk to your doctor about the risks of CEA. He or she can help you decide whether the surgery is right for you.
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