Posterior communicating artery aneurysm-related oculomotor nerve palsy: influence of surgical and endovascular treatment on recovery: single-center series and systematic review

Neurosurgery. 2011 Jun;68(6):1527-33; discussion 1533-4. doi: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e31820edd82.


Background: Compression of the third nerve resulting in oculomotor nerve palsy (ONP) is a common initial symptom and in some cases the only neurological deficit in patients with posterior communicating artery (PcomA) aneurysms.

Objective: To analyze the resolution of ONP after surgical or endovascular treatment in comparison with its spontaneous course.

Methods: Between June 1999 and April 2008, 5 of 914 consecutive patients with ruptured and 10 of 344 with unruptured intracranial aneurysms causing ONP were treated at our institution. ONP was recorded at admission and at follow-up. The electronic database MEDLINE was searched for published studies of PcomA aneurysm-caused ONP. Two reviewers independently extracted data.

Results: Overall, 26 studies and 15 patients of the current series totaling 201 PComA aneurysms met the inclusion criteria. A total of 132 patients underwent surgical clipping, 54 patients were treated endovascularly, and 15 patients remained untreated. Surgical treatment was associated with a significantly higher rate of complete ONP resolution (55% vs 32%; P=.006; odds ratio [OR], 2.6; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.3-5.1) and ONP resolution of any degree (92% vs 74%; P=.001; OR, 4.3; 95% CI, 1.8-10.4) compared with endovascularly treated patients. In the multivariate analyses, surgical clipping was significantly associated with ONP resolution of any degree (P<.0001; OR, 12.2; 95% CI, 3-49) and of complete resolution (P=.006; OR, 7.1; 95% CI, 1.8-28).

Conclusion: The present data indicate that ONP caused by PComA aneurysms resolves in a significantly higher portion of patients after surgical treatment compared with endovascular coiling and the spontaneous course.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Endovascular Procedures / instrumentation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / complications*
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oculomotor Nerve Diseases / etiology*
  • Oculomotor Nerve Diseases / surgery*
  • Surgical Instruments
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures / instrumentation*