Treatment of giant intracranial aneurysms with saphenous vein extracranial-to-intracranial bypass grafting: indications, operative technique, and results in 29 patients

Neurosurgery. 2002 Jul;51(1):138-44; discussion 144-6. doi: 10.1097/00006123-200207000-00021.


Objective: The treatment of giant intracranial aneurysms is a challenge because of the limitations and difficulty of direct surgical clipping and endovascular coiling. We describe the indications, surgical technique, and complications of saphenous vein extracranial-to-intracranial bypass grafting followed by acute parent vessel occlusion in the management of these difficult lesions.

Methods: Between January 1990 and December 1999, 29 patients with giant intracranial aneurysms underwent 30 saphenous vein bypass grafts followed by immediate parent vessel occlusion. There were 11 men and 18 women with a mean follow-up period of 62 months. Twenty-five patients harbored aneurysms involving the internal carotid artery, 2 had middle cerebral artery aneurysms, and 2 had aneurysms in the basilar artery. Serial cerebral or magnetic resonance angiograms were obtained to assess graft patency and aneurysm obliteration.

Results: All 30 aneurysms were excluded from the cerebral circulation, with 28 vein grafts remaining patent. Two patients had graft occlusions: one because of poor runoff and the other because of misplacement of a cranial pin during a bypass procedure on the contralateral side. Other surgical complications included one death from a large cerebral infarction, homonymous hemianopsia from thrombosis of an anterior choroidal artery after internal carotid artery occlusion, and temporary hemiparesis from a presumed perforator thrombosis adjacent to a basilar aneurysm.

Conclusion: With appropriate attention to surgical technique, a saphenous vein extracranial-to-intracranial bypass followed by acute parent vessel occlusion is a safe and effective method of treating giant intracranial aneurysms. A high rate of graft patency and adequate cerebral blood flow can be achieved. Thrombosis of perforating arteries caused by altered blood flow hemodynamics after parent vessel occlusion may be a continuing source of complications.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Arteries / surgery
  • Cerebral Revascularization / methods*
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Graft Occlusion, Vascular / diagnosis
  • Graft Occlusion, Vascular / surgery
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / diagnosis
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / surgery*
  • Ligation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnosis
  • Postoperative Complications / surgery
  • Reoperation
  • Veins / transplantation*