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Anatomic basis of the anterior surgery on the cervical spine: relationships between uncus-artery-root complex and vertebral artery injury



Anatomic basis of the anterior surgery on the cervical spine: relationships between uncus-artery-root complex and vertebral artery injury



Surgical and Radiologic Anatomy 20(6): 389-392



Vertebral artery injury is a serious complication during anterior surgery on the cervical spine. However, little information is available in the literature concerning the mechanism of vertebral artery laceration during the procedures of the anterior cervical decompression. In the current study twenty-eight cadavers were dissected to determine the location and relationships of the fibro-ligamentous tissues to the uncinate process, vertebral artery and nerve roots from the C3 to C6 levels. The vertebral artery and nerve root are encased by a fibro-ligamentous band at the level of the intertransverse space. This fibro-ligamentous band is attached to the lateral aspect of the uncinate process and uncovertebral joint, which combines the vertebral artery, nerve root and uncinate process to form a complex or unit. The fibro-ligamentous tissues between the uncovertebral joint and vertebral artery may explain the propensity to vertebral artery laceration during resection of the uncinate process or an osteophyte projecting from the uncovertebral joint. For this reason, the authors recommend that before resection of the uncinate process or uncovertebral joint is performed, it is necessary to thoroughly dissect the fibro-ligamentous tissues off the uncinate process.

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Accession: 045252819

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PMID: 9932321

DOI: 10.1007/s00276-998-0389-3


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