An endarterectomy is a stroke-prevention procedure that is typically performed by a vascular surgeon for purposes of eliminating plaque build-up inside the carotid artery (a condition referred to as carotid artery disease). While patients who have experienced a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or “mini-stroke” are often candidates for this procedure, others who have been diagnosed with a significant blockage (greater than 60 percent) but have not yet experienced a TIA may also be recommended for it. The procedure may be performed with the patient under either general or local anesthesia. It requires an incision to be made in the front of the neck so that the surgeon can view and then open the carotid artery for purposes of removing the plaque build-up that is causing the blockage. Closure of the wound may be performed using traditional sutures or a special “patch graft” that can be created with artificial material or one of the patient’s own veins.