Surgical treatment of recurrent carotid artery stenosis

F. B. Meyer, D. G. Piepgras, N. C. Fode

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Ninety-two surgical procedures were performed in 82 patients for recurrent carotid artery stenosis. The etiology was recurrent atherosclerosis in 45 cases, myointimal hyperplasia in 20, organized thrombus without a significant underlying plaque in 20, and scarring along the proximal arteriotomy site in seven. The operations included a repeat endarterectomy in 66 cases and reconstruction with an interposition graft in 22. All five major neurological complications occurred in symptomatic patients, and included three instances of intraoperative embolization during exposure of the carotid artery. The majority of neurological complications occurred in symptomatic patients who had intraluminal thrombus confirmed at surgery. There were four perioperative deaths, due to cerebral hemorrhage in two patients and myocardial infarction in two. In the patients whose original surgery was performed at the Mayo Clinic, the risk of recurrent carotid artery stenosis was 3.1% with a primary closure compared to 1.6% when a patch graft was used. These results indicate that surgery for recurrent carotid artery stenosis is technically more difficult and carries a significantly higher risk than surgery for primary disease. The difficulty is due to the friable recurrent plaque associated with intraluminal thrombus, which increases the risk of embolization during carotid artery exposure. In the majority of patients with recurrent atherosclerosis, a repeat endarterectomy can be achieved. However, in some patients, there is scarring without a definite plane of cleavage between the recurrent disease and the underlying media, making an endarterectomy difficult. In these cases, excision of the diseased segment and reconstruction with an interposition graft is the best treatment. The findings presented here also suggest that closure of the original arteriotomy with a patch graft decreases the risk of recurrent carotid artery stenosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)781-787
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1994


  • endarterectomy
  • interposition graft
  • neurological complications
  • operative technique
  • recurrent carotid artery stenosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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