The objective of this study was to retrospectively investigate a single institution's experience with carotid artery resection performed as part of an oncological procedure and to determine acute and convalescent complication and survival rates. We performed a record review of 28 patients with head and neck malignancy invading the carotid artery. Immediate carotid artery resection and ligation on an emergent basis was performed on 12 patients (group 1), elective resection and ligation was performed on 8 patients (group 2), and elective resection and revascularization was performed on 8 patients (group 3). In group 1, although 1 patient survived for 1 year and 1 patient survived for 2 years, 1 patient died of severe neurologic deficit, 2 patients experienced neurologic deficit with good recovery, and 1 patient was moderately disabled. In group 2, 2 patients survived without disease for 5 years, and 2 patients experienced neurologic deficit, 1 with good recovery and the other with complete recovery. In group 3, only I patient survived for 5 years, and within this group, 1 patient died of severe neurologic deficit, 1 patient had neurologic deficit with moderate recovery, and 1 patient had neurologic deficit with complete recovery. No significant difference in mortality and morbidity rate was observed between the "resection and ligation" group and the "resection and revascularization" group (p =.52, chi(2) = 0.79). We conclude that the surgical treatment of patients with an invaded carotid artery, including carotid resection, provides a small but real chance of 5-year survival. The methods of carotid resection and repair should be guided by clinical presentation and by preoperative and intraoperative investigations.