Surgical treatment of extracranial internal carotid artery aneurysms

J Vasc Surg. 2000 Apr;31(4):713-23. doi: 10.1067/mva.2000.104102.


Purpose: Extracranial internal carotid artery aneurysms (EICAs) can be treated by carotid ligation or surgical reconstruction. In the consideration of the risk of stroke after internal carotid artery (ICA) occlusion, the aim of this study was to report the results of reconstructive surgery for these aneurysms, including lesions located at the base of the skull.

Methods: From 1980 to 1997, 25 ICA reconstructions were performed for EICA: 22 male patients and 3 female patients (mean age, 54.4 years). The cause was atherosclerosis (n = nine patients), dysplasia (n = 12 patients), trauma (n = three patients), and undetermined (n = one patient). The symptoms were focal in 15 cases (12 hemispheric, three ocular), nonfocal in three cases (trouble with balance and visual blurring), and glossopharyngeal nerve compression in one case. Six cases were asymptomatic, including three cases that were diagnosed during surveillance after ICA dissection. In nine cases, the upper limit of the EICA reached the base of the skull. A combined approach with an ear, nose, and throat surgeon allowed exposure and control of the ICA.

Results: After operation, there were no deaths, one temporary stroke, two transient ischemic attacks, and 11 cranial nerve palsies (one with sequelae). The ICA was patent on the postoperative angiogram in all but one case. During follow-up (mean, 66 months), there were two deaths (myocardial infarction), one occurrence of focal epileptic seizure at 2 months, and one transient ischemic attack at 2 years. In December 1998, duplex scanning showed patency of the reconstructed ICA in all but one surviving patient.

Conclusion: Surgical reconstruction is a satisfactory therapeutic choice for EICA, even when located at the base of the skull.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aneurysm / etiology
  • Aneurysm / physiopathology
  • Aneurysm / surgery*
  • Angiography
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / complications
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / etiology
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / physiopathology
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / surgery*
  • Carotid Artery Injuries / complications
  • Carotid Artery, Internal / surgery*
  • Carotid Artery, Internal, Dissection / complications
  • Cause of Death
  • Epilepsies, Partial / etiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glossopharyngeal Nerve / physiopathology
  • Glossopharyngeal Nerve Injuries
  • Humans
  • Ischemic Attack, Transient / etiology
  • Ligation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Compression Syndromes / physiopathology
  • Paralysis / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Risk Factors
  • Skull Base / blood supply
  • Stroke / etiology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Patency