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Open Access Open Badges Research article

What happens to the external carotid artery following carotid endarterectomy?

Saleh M Abbas*, David Adams and Peter Vanniasingham

Author Affiliations

Middlemore hospital; Department of Surgery, Auckland, New Zealand

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BMC Surgery 2008, 8:20  doi:10.1186/1471-2482-8-20

Published: 25 November 2008



The effect of carotid endarterectomy on the patency of the external carotid artery is unknown. We conducted a retrospective study to evaluate the long-term changes in the external carotid artery following carotid endarterectomy.


Data was prospectively recorded for all patients who had carotid endarterectomy between 1997 and 2006 in our vascular surgical unit. These patients had follow-up with carotid duplex ultrasound to assess the patency of the internal and external carotid artery. The data were retrieved and evaluated for patency and flow characteristic in both arteries before and after surgery.


Carotid endarterectomy was performed on 255 occasions in 236 patients over the ten year study period. Immediate and long-term outcome of carotid endarterectomy is comparable to results at other major centers. Stenosis of the external carotid artery as detected by duplex scan occurred in 5.5% of patients and was totally asymptomatic.


Our results of carotid endarterectomy are comparable to other centers. Long-term follow up of the external carotid artery with duplex scan showed asymptomatic stenosis in a small percentage of patients.