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  • Discharge Instructions

  • Neurosurgery 

    Discharge Instructions

    Carotid Endarterectomy

    What to Expect

    Almost all people who have had carotid surgery will require several weeks to fully recover. You may feel easily tired and you should avoid strenuous activity until you have had a follow-up appointment with your doctor and have discussed increasing your activity level. It is important, however, to avoid prolonged bed rest, which can lead to lung problems and blood clots in the legs. Going for walks, either inside or outside, and then resting when you are tired is a good way to get the exercise you need. You will have buried stitches in your neck that will absorb over time. You also have thin paper tapes over your incision which will help it to heal.

    Dos and Don'ts

    • You should not apply creams, lotions or ointments to your incision. Keeping the incision clean and dry will enable it to heal quickly.

    • You may take a bath when you return home but you should not get your incision directly wet until the paper tapes curl up and drop off (at least five days). If it does get wet before five days, pat it dry gently.

    • You may have some pain in your incision after the operation. You will be given a prescription to take home with you. If your pain is mild and you would prefer to take an over-the-counter medication you may take acetaminophen (Tylenol or Extra-Strength Tylenol) according to the package directions. You should take all medications prescribed for you and not stop taking them abruptly.

    Atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries is a complex disease with many causes. Risk factors that you can control include diet and cigarette smoking. Quitting smoking is key to avoiding future blood vessel and lung problems. Your primary care physician can help you develop a plan to quit smoking. Changing to a diet that is low in cholesterol and fat is also important and you may wish to see a nutritionist to help you improve your diet.

    Contact us immediately if:

    • You develop a rash, upset stomach or other problems that may be related to medication.

    • You develop redness, draining pus or sudden swelling around your neck incision.

    • You develop neurological problems such as slurred speech, double vision, weakness of your face or any arm or leg, or have a seizure (convulsion).

    • You notice swelling, redness or pain in your foot or leg. This could indicate a blood clot in the leg, a serious problem that may occur after surgery. Symptoms such as shortness of breath, severe chest pain or coughing up blood could be a sign of a blood clot moving to the lung or another serious medical problem. If you have any of these symptoms you should come to the emergency room or contact us immediately.

    The above symptoms are some of the most serious that may arise but do not include all potential post-operative problems. When in doubt, it is better to call and ask.

    Contact information and follow ups

    During business hours you should call your attending physician's office with any questions. For emergencies after business hours call 401-444-5611 and ask for the neurosurgical resident on call.

    Call your attending physician's office after you are discharged from the hospital to arrange for stitch/staple removal and necessary follow up appointments.

    You should also schedule a follow up appointment with your primary care physician. If you do not have a general doctor, you can call the Lifespan Heath Connection at 401-444-4800 for a referral.