Carotid endarterectomy is an operation to remove fatty deposits (called plaques) from inside the arteries in your neck. These arteries, which carry blood to your brain, are called the carotid arteries.
When carrying out the operation, the surgeon makes a cut in your neck and opens up the blocked artery to remove the plaque. The artery is then stitched up again. If the artery is in poor condition, the surgeon may remove it and replace it with a blood vessel from elsewhere in your body. If the operation takes a long time, the surgeon might use a machine to keep the blood flowing to your brain. How long this operation takes depends on the amount of blockage, your age and your general health.