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Tortuosity of the vertebral artery in patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy. Risk factor for the vertebral artery injury during anterior cervical decompression



Tortuosity of the vertebral artery in patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy. Risk factor for the vertebral artery injury during anterior cervical decompression



Spine 21(9): 1085-1089



Study Design. The case report presented herein shows tortuosity of the vertebral artery in a patient with cervical myelopathy. This case led the authors to evaluate 22 other patients who also had undergone anterior cervical fusion. They were studied before operation by either magnetic resonance imaging angiography or selective vertebral angiography. Objectives. To analyze the radiographs, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and angiography findings to detect any tortuosity of the vertebral artery in patients with cervical myelopathy to show the risk factors of vertebral artery injury during anterior decompression. Summary of Background Data. Complications of vertebral artery laceration during cervical anterior decompression are rare, so this injury and abnormality in the course of vertebral artery in patients with cervical myelopathy receive little attention. Methods. The tortuosity of the vertebral artery was assessed by angiography, magnetic resonance imaging, and computed tomography. Results. Mild vertebral artery tortuosity was observed in 10 patients and loop formation in three associated with cervical spondylotic changes. Conclusions. This study suggests that vertebral artery loop formation is developed associated with cervical spondylotic changes. During the anterior decompression of cervical spondylotic myelopathy or radiculopathy, the looped vertebral artery could be injured by an excessive wide rejection of the bone or disc material. In the case of vertebral artery migration, the looped vertebral artery can even be injured by routine procedures.

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Accession: 009655411

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PMID: 8724095


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