OSF St. Joseph Medical Center

Bloomington, Illinois

Carotid Endarterectomy

Carotid endarterectomy (CEA) is a procedure in which plaque, or cholesterol buildup, is removed from an artery in the neck that carries blood to the brain.

A CEA may be recommended for patients who have had a mild stroke or transient ischemic attack. 

Every patient is unique, and our physicians will work closely with you to individualize your care and needs.

Preparing for Your Surgery

Patients work closely with our doctors and nurses prior to the procedure. During this time, you will be instructed not to eat or drink anything after midnight before your procedure. Our staff will inform you what medications you can take the morning of your surgery. 

What to Expect

It is normal to feel some level of anxiety before your procedure. Our surgeons and staff are extremely caring and are here to answer all of your questions to give you peace of mind. 

The registration process varies depending on the time of your procedure. You will be given detailed instructions during your office visit. 


Most patients spend their first night in the intensive care unit (ICU), closely monitored by the nursing staff. The following morning you will feel well and be up and readily moving around.

It is normal to be sore for a couple weeks after surgery. See your doctor if this seems to be getting worse rather than better.

  • Take showers, not baths, for a few days after surgery or until instructed otherwise by your doctor. Do not take a bath or swim until directed by your surgeon.
  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your doctor.
  • An anticoagulant may be prescribed after surgery. This medicine should be taken exactly as directed.
  • Change bandages, or dressings, as directed by your doctor.
  • Resume your normal activities as directed by your doctor.
  • Avoid lifting until you are instructed otherwise.
  • Make an appointment to see your doctor for suture or staple removal when instructed.
  • Stop smoking if you smoke. This is a grave risk factor.
  • Stop taking oral contraceptives, unless your doctor recommends otherwise.
  • Maintain good blood pressure control.
  • Exercise regularly or as instructed.
  • Lower blood lipids, cholesterol, and triglycerides.
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet.
  • Manage heart problems if they are contributing to your risk.


Please bring the following to your appointment:

  • All your medicines in the original containers, including any vitamins and herbal supplements you may take
  • Your insurance card and/or Medicare card
  • A completed Medical History form
  • A government issued photo ID (Driver's license, etc.)

Should you need to cancel your appointment for any reason, please call 24-hours in advance whenever possible. If you cannot call at least 24-hours ahead, please call as soon as you know you need to cancel. Chances are, another patient can use your appointment time.