Carotid artery surgery is a form of vascular surgery that is performed to widen or unblock the arteries that carry blood to the brain and face. These arteries can become obstructed by plaque buildup that raises a patient’s risk of stroke. Clearing them can be accomplished via angioplasty and stent placement or via carotid endarterectomy. In a carotid endarterectomy procedure, the patient may be under general or local anesthesia as the surgeon makes an incision in the neck where the blocked artery is located and places a catheter that allows blood to bypass the location at which the blockage occurs. Next, the surgeon opens the carotid artery and clears it of plaque before closing the artery so that blood flow can continue unimpeded to the brain. The procedure takes about two hours. A patient may be considered a candidate for carotid endarterectomy when the blockage within their artery is discovered to impede blood flow by over 70 percent.