Multimodality management of vertebral artery injury sustained during cervical or craniocervical surgery

Peter Hanks Maughan, Andrew F. Ducruet, Ali M. Elhadi, Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Mark Garrett, Raza Mushtaq, Felipe C. Albuquerque, Nicholas Theodore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Iatrogenic vertebral artery (VA) injury is a rare but potentially devastating complication associated with cervical and craniocervical surgery. OBJECTIVE: To retrospectively evaluate treatment modalities and outcomes associated with iatrogenic VA injury. METHODS: Our institutional surgical database was queried for patients who underwent cervical or craniocervical surgery from January 1997 to August 2012. RESULTS: During this time period, 8213 patients underwent cervical or craniocervical surgery, and 17 (0.2%) cases of VA injury were identified. Eight (47%) of these injuries occurred during C1-2 instrumentation procedures. Primary microsurgical repair of the VA was performed in 5 patients. Other cases were managed by either surgical or endovascular VA occlusion. Of the 17 patients, 15 underwent immediate angiography, 9 of whom were ultimately treated by the use of endovascular techniques. CONCLUSION: VA injury is an uncommon complication of cervical and/or skull base surgery. Standardized management recommendations may help reduce complications associated with these rare but potentially devastating injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)ons271-ons281
Issue numberSUPPL. 2
StatePublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Cervical
  • Complications
  • Craniocervical
  • Endovascular pseudoaneurysm
  • Iatrogenic injury
  • Vertebral artery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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