After Carotid Endarterectomy: In the Hospital

After surgery, you’ll be taken to a recovery area. Later, you may be moved to a regular hospital room. Here's what to expect.

The first few hours

You’ll be in a recovery area or the intensive care unit (ICU) for the first few hours after surgery. Any anesthesia you had will wear off quickly. Try not to move your head. It’s normal to feel some pain near the incision. But medicine will help you feel better. You’ll also have an IV (intravenous) catheter to give you fluids. Your blood pressure, breathing, and other vital signs will be closely watched. Your loved ones may be able to visit with you soon. The medical staff will watch your mental state closely to make sure there are no changes.

Man in hospital bed, healthcare provider checking his IV.

As you regain strength

You may be moved to another hospital room within a few hours. If your blood pressure and your heart rate are normal, you will go to a regular room. If your doctor has concerns about your blood pressure and heart rate being too low or too high, you may need to spend some time in the ICU. Expect to be up and walking within 24 hours if you have no complications. If you had a drain, it will be removed by a doctor or nurse the day after surgery. Most people spend at least 1 night in the hospital. You can go home when your doctor says it’s OK. Have an adult family member or friend drive you home.