Skip to main content

Carotid Artery Disease

Your carotid arteries are 2 main arteries in the neck that are responsible for carrying oxygenated blood to the brain, face and neck. When these arteries narrow due to cholesterol, it's called carotid artery disease.

Request an appointment

Perfecting the art of carotid artery care

The 2 things your brain needs the most to function properly are blood and oxygen. They’re delivered to the brain through tiny blood vessels located on each side of the neck called the carotid arteries. When that supply is cut off or limited, it can have serious or life-threatening effects.

Our carotid care specialists have years of experience helping people get their vascular health back in order. In fact, we were among the first hospitals in the country to develop a program to treat carotid artery disease. We'll use a combination of lifestyle recommendations, medication and surgical procedures to get you on the road to recovery.

Cardiologist Omar Ali, MD, FACC in a heart and vascular surgery in Lowell General Hospital's Cath Lab talking to nurse while pointing to a large screen showing a heart scan.
Find a doctor near me


We treat the full range of carotid artery conditions, including:

Atherosclerotic plaque build-up
Carotid aneurysm
Carotid artery disease
Carotid artery occlusive disease
Carotid body tumors
Carotid dissection
Carotid endarterectomy
Carotid stenosis
Fibromuscular dysplasia

Carotid artery disease risk factors

Certain factors can make you more likely to develop CAD. Some factors are within our control, and some we inherit from our family. The following may increase your risk for developing carotid artery disease:

  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Family history of stroke
  • High blood pressure, high cholesterol or high triglycerides
  • Male gender
  • Older age
  • Smoking
  • Trauma to your neck


We use the latest cardiovascular imaging technology to get a clear picture of your arteries. We turn to the following tests to look for plaque buildup, reduced blood flow and other abnormalities:



Treating carotid artery disease is sometimes as simple as making a few changes to your lifestyle, like exercising more, eating a healthy diet and quitting smoking. We also may prescribe medication to help prevent blood clots or to lower your cholesterol.

In addition to these methods, our team of surgeons are well-equipped to address your carotid artery condition. Whenever possible, we’ll look to minimally invasive methods.

Carotid angioplasty with stenting

This catheter-based procedure for milder cases of carotid artery disease requires just a small puncture in the groin. From there, we insert a small mesh tube, which helps to open the artery and push the plaque against the artery wall.

Carotid endarterectomy

When a carotid artery blockage is significant, we usually turn to a surgical procedure called a carotid endarterectomy. It  involves removing plaque from the artery through an incision in the neck.

Surgery for carotid body tumors

A carotid artery tumor is a mass that grows in the blood vessels near the carotid arteries. We can treat this condition with a surgery known as a carotid body tumor resection. During the surgery, the doctor can often delicately “peel” off the carotid artery without ever clamping the vessels.

In more advanced cases, our surgeons may need to replace the diseased segment of the artery with a bypass graft. That means we take a part of a blood vessel from another part of the body and connect it to the carotid artery.

Anasuya Gunturi MD, PhD talks with patient at Lowell General Hospital's Women's Wellness Center clinic appointment.
Our locations

From regular office visits to inpatient stays, find the healthcare you need and deserve close to home.

Family physician Sarwada Tuladhar Jha, MD talking to patient during exam at a clinic appointment and inputting health information at the computer.
Our doctors + care team

Meet the doctors and care team devoted to supporting you every step of the way along your path to better health.

Understand what you may pay for care at Tufts Medicine with our price estimate tool.

Jump back to top