Cerebral revascularization using radial artery grafts for the treatment of complex intracranial aneurysms: techniques and outcomes for 17 patients

Neurosurgery. 2001 Sep;49(3):646-58; discussion 658-9. doi: 10.1097/00006123-200109000-00023.


Objective: The goal of this report is to illustrate the use of radial artery grafts as bypass conduits in the management of complex intracranial aneurysms and to describe a new "pressure distension technique" to eliminate postoperative vasospasm, which was a common problem early in our experience.

Methods: This study included a series of 17 patients who were surgically treated between 1994 and January 2001 for complex intracranial aneurysms. Five patients were surgically treated without the pressure distension technique; for 12 patients, the technique was used to reduce postoperative vasospasm. Fourteen of the patients had anterior circulation aneurysms, and three had posterior circulation aneurysms. Five of the patients had undergone previous attempts at direct clipping or excision and reconstruction of the aneurysm in question, and embolization had been performed for one patient with a carotid-cavernous fistula. Thirteen patients underwent permanent revascularization combined with proximal occlusion, trapping, or clipping, and four patients underwent temporary revascularization for cerebral protection during anticipated prolonged occlusion of the parent vessel during aneurysm dissection. Surgical techniques are described, with particular reference to vessel collection and bypass techniques.

Results: The outcomes for this group of patients, considering the complexity of the aneurysms and their "inoperability," with respect to direct clipping, were satisfactory. The aneurysms were completely obliterated for all patients, and the grafts were patent for all except one patient on postoperative angiograms. There were two deaths, one attributable to systemic sepsis and the other attributable to cardiac arrest during a transbronchial biopsy. The postoperative Glasgow Outcome Scale scores were either better or the same for all other patients, compared with their preoperative scores. Three of the five patients treated before the institution of the pressure distension technique experienced vasospasm of the graft, with two of those patients requiring angioplasty. For one of those patients, angioplasty led to rupture of the graft. Vasospasm was not observed for any of the 12 patients for whom the pressure distension technique was used. We observed no morbidity related to radial artery collection.

Conclusion: Revascularization techniques are occasionally necessary for the surgical treatment of complicated intracranial aneurysms. The merits of the use of the radial artery as a bypass conduit are discussed. Radial artery grafts should be considered as alternatives to saphenous vein and superficial temporal artery grafts. The problem of vasospasm of the artery has been solved with the pressure distention technique.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cerebral Angiography
  • Cerebral Revascularization / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / diagnosis
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control
  • Radial Artery / diagnostic imaging
  • Radial Artery / transplantation*
  • Transplantation, Autologous
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vasospasm, Intracranial / diagnosis
  • Vasospasm, Intracranial / prevention & control