Thirteen cases of cervical carotid dissecting aneurysm have been seen at the University of Florida during the past 3 years. In our experience, two groups of patients with this disease can be distinguished clearly by either clinical or angiographic criteria. One group of cervical carotid dissecting aneurysms is characterized by spontaneous onset, unilaterality, and the absence of pseudoaneurysm formation. These lesions have a strong tendency to resolve with appropriate medical therapy. The other group is characterized by an association with obvious predisposing factors, such as fibromuscular dysplasia, angiography, or trauma. These lesions are often associated with pseudoaneurysms and rarely resolve spontaneously. These two groups of lesions probably represent a spectrum of the same basic disease process. The natural history of patients who survive a cervical carotid dissection is usually one of stability or improvement. A trial of medical therapy (to prevent embolic symptoms) and repeat arteriography are indicated before the consideration of surgical therapy.