Purpose To determine the possibility of further improving clinical stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) plans using normal tissue complication probability (NTCP) objectives in order to minimize the risk for carotid blowout syndrome (CBOS). Methods 10 patients with inoperable locally recurrent head and neck cancer, who underwent SBRT using CyberKnife were analyzed. For each patient, three treatment plans were examined: (1) cone-based without delineation of the ipsilateral internal carotid (clinical plan used to treat the patients); (2) cone-based with the carotid retrospectively delineated and spared; and (3) Iris-based with carotid sparing. The dose-volume histograms of the target and primary organs at risk were calculated. The three sets of plans were compared based on dosimetric and TCP/NTCP (tumor control and normal tissue complication probabilities) metrics. For the NTCP values of carotid, the relative seriality model was used with the following parameters: D-50 = 40 Gy, gamma = 0.75, and s = 1.0. Results Across the 10 patient plans, the average TCP did not significantly change when the plans were re-optimized to spare the carotid. The estimated risk of CBOS was significantly decreased in the re-optimized plans, by 14.9% +/- 7.4% for the cone-based plans and 17.7% +/- 7.1% for the iris-based plans (p = 0.002 for both). The iris-based plans had significant (p = 0.02) reduced CBOS risk and delivery time (20.1% +/- 7.4% time reduction, p = 0.002) compared to the cone-based plans. Conclusion A significant improvement in the quality of the clinical plans could be achieved through the delineation of the internal carotids and the use of more modern treatment delivery modalities. In this way, for the same target coverage, a significant reduction in the risk of CBOS could be achieved. The range of risk reduction varied depending on the proximity of carotid artery to the target.