The tortuous or kinked carotid artery: pathogenesis and clinical considerations. A historical review

Surg Neurol. 1986 May;25(5):478-86. doi: 10.1016/0090-3019(86)90087-x.


The significance and management of cervical carotid artery tortuosity are controversial. One hundred eighteen cases of angulation of the common carotid artery and over 800 cases of elongation of the internal carotid artery have been reported. The etiology, presentation, diagnosis, and treatment of each entity are reviewed. Angulation of the common carotid artery is often managed conservatively. For clarity, elongations of the internal carotid artery should be classified as either tortuosities or kinks. Some patients with kinks of the internal carotid artery will have episodes of cerebrovascular insufficiency related to the position of their heads. Such patients merit thorough diagnostic evaluation. When other etiologic factors have been eliminated, patients in this group may benefit from a surgical procedure directed at the vascular abnormality. Applicable surgical techniques are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carotid Arteries / abnormalities*
  • Carotid Arteries / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Arteries / surgery
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / diagnosis
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / etiology
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / surgery
  • Carotid Artery, Internal / abnormalities*
  • Carotid Artery, Internal / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / etiology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiography