Intraplaque hemorrhage (IPH) and ulcers are the major findings of unstable plaques. In addition, initial symptoms are associated with postprocedural complications after carotid artery stenting (CAS). The aim of this study was to determine the safety of CAS using an embolic protection device in symptomatic patients with severe carotid artery stenosis and unstable plaques such as IPH and ulcers. This retrospective study included 140 consecutive patients with severe carotid stenosis. These patients underwent preprocedural carotid vessel wall imaging to evaluate the plaque status. We analyzed the incidence of initial clinical symptoms, such as headache, nausea, and vomiting, after CAS. The primary outcomes analyzed were the incidence of stroke, myocardial infarction, and death within 30 days of CAS. Sixty-seven patients (47.9%) had IPH, and 53 (38.9%) had ulcers on carotid wall imaging/angiography. Sixty-three patients (45.0%) had acute neurological symptoms with positive diffusion-weighted image findings. Intraluminal thrombi on initial angiography and flow arrest during CAS were significantly higher in patients with IPH and symptomatic patients. Symptoms were significantly higher in patients with IPH than in those without (63.5% vs 35.1%, P < .001). There were no significant differences in clinical symptoms after stenting or in primary outcomes, regardless of IPH, ulcer, or initial symptoms. IPH and plaque ulceration are risk factors in symptomatic carotid stenosis. However, IPH and plaque ulceration were not a significant risk factors for cerebral embolism during protected carotid artery stent placement in patients with carotid stenosis. Protected CAS might be feasible and safe despite the presence of unstable plaques.