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Stroke treatment: Surgery

Some people who had a stroke need surgery. There are two types of surgeries.


A neurosurgeon makes an opening in the skull to reach the brain. He or she may do either:

  • treatment of aneurysm: clipping: The neurosurgeon places a small clip on the blood vessel to seal off the blood flow to the aneurysm.
  • or

  • treatment of life-threatening brain swelling: The neurosurgeon reduces pressure in the brain caused by bleeding. Surgery is rarely needed on people who have non-bleeding (ischemic) strokes.

Carotid endarterectomy

Carotid endarterectomy (carotid artery surgery) is a surgery for people who have narrowed carotid arteries.

The surgeon cleans plaque (a fatty substance) out of the carotid artery. This can help prevent a stroke.

This surgery cannot be done on a totally blocked carotid artery.


Source: Allina Patient Education, Understanding Stroke: Information about Stroke and Recovery, fourth edition, ISBN 1-931876-13-4

First published: 02/01/2006
Last updated: 12/09/2011

Reviewed by: Allina Patient Education experts