Endovascular embolization of iatrogenic vertebral artery injury during anterior cervical spine surgery: report of two cases and review of the literature

Jeong-Wook ChoiSoo-Han Kim


Case description. To report 2 cases of vertebral artery injury (VAI) during anterior cervical decompression surgery and review the pertinent medical literature. The incidence of VAI during an anterior surgical approach to the cervical spine is rare but potentially lethal. The spine surgeon should be aware of the detailed surgical anatomy and be prepared to manage an inadvertent injury to the vertebral artery. In the first case presented, infection was the cause of VAI. During aggressive irrigation and pus drainage, massive bleeding was encountered. For the second case, the vertebral artery was injured during decompression of cervical spondylosis while drilling the neural foramen. 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 first case. In the second case, a pseudoaneurysm was detected by angiography, obtained 4 days after surgery. Both pseudoaneurysms were successfully occluded by an endovascular technique without any neurologic sequelae. In case of bleeding control by hemostatic packing, there remains a risk of delayed hemorrhage from pseudoaneurysm....Continue Reading


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