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Journal of Korean Neurosurgical Society 2006;40(6): 450-454.
Iatrogenic Vertebral Artery Injury During Anterior Cervical Spine Surgery : Report of Two Cases.
Jae Hyun Lee, Jung Kil Lee, Sung Pil Joo, Soo Han Kim
Department of Neurosurgery, Chonnam National University Hospital, Gwangju, Korea. jkl@chonnam.ac.kr
The incidence of vertebral artery injury during the anterior approach to the cervical spine is rare, but potentially lethal. The authors describe two cases of vertebral artery injury during anterior cervical decompression surgery. In the first case, infection was the cause of the vertebral artery injury. During aggressive irrigation and pus drainage, massive bleeding was encountered, and intraoperative direct packing with hemostatic agents provided effective control of hemorrhage. Ten days after surgery, sudden neck swelling and mental deterioration occurred because of rebleeding from a pseudoaneurysm. In the second case, the vertebral artery was injured during decompression of cervical spondylosis while drilling the neural foramen. After intraoperative control of bleeding, the patient was referred to our hospital, and a pseudoaneurysm was detected by angiography four days after surgery. Both pseudoaneurysms were successfully occluded by an endovascular technique without any neurological sequelae. Urgent vertebral angiography, following intraoperative control of bleeding by hemostatic compression in cases of vertebral artery injury during anterior cervical decompression, should be performed to avoid life-threatening complications. Prompt recognition of pseudoaneurysm is mandatory, and endovascular treatment can be life saving.
Key Words: Anterior cervical approach; Endovascular; Pseudoaneurysm; Vertebral artery
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