After Carotid Artery Surgery: At Home

You’ll start feeling back to normal within a day or 2 of getting home. But don’t forget that you just had surgery. You need to take it easy, even if you feel fine. Follow any instructions your doctor gives you. In most cases, stitches dissolve on their own.

Woman sitting, reading.

Speeding your recovery

The following tips can help speed your recovery:

  • Spend your first few days relaxing at home. You can read, watch TV, or do other quiet, restful activities.

  • Don’t do strenuous activities until your doctor says it’s OK (usually 1 to 2 weeks). 

  • Take medicine as instructed.

  • Don’t drive until your doctor says it’s OK. This will most likely take 1 to 2 weeks.

  • Once your doctor says you can shower again, it’s OK to get the area of your incision wet. But don’t scrub it.

  • If you shave, be careful around the wound. You may want to use an electric razor.

When to call 911

A stroke is a medical emergency. Call 911 right away if you have any of these symptoms of stroke:

  • Weakness, tingling, or loss of feeling on one side of your face or body

  • Sudden double vision or trouble seeing in one or both eyes

  • Sudden trouble taking or slurred speech

  • Sudden, severe headache

F.A.S.T is an easy way to remember the signs of stroke.

F.A.S.T stands for:

  • F is for face drooping. One side of the face is drooping or numb.

  • A is for arm weakness. One arm is weak or numb. When the person lifts both arms at the same time, one arm may drift downward.

  • S is for speech difficulty. You may notice slurred speech or trouble speaking. The person can't repeat a simple sentence correctly when asked.

  • T is for time to call 911. If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if they go away, call 911 right away. Make note of the time the symptoms first appeared.

When to call your healthcare provider

Contact your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these:

  • Your neck swells

  • Redness or fluid is coming from the wound

  • Your face, an arm or a leg becomes numb or weak

  • You have sudden changes in vision or loss of vision in 1 eye

  • You have trouble speaking, swallowing, or breathing

  • You have a fever above 100.4°F (38°C)

  • You have a severe headache or eye pain on the same side of the body you had surgery on

If your doctor’s office is closed, go to the hospital emergency room.