Embolization of neurosurgical lesions involving the ophthalmic artery

Neurosurgery. 1998 Dec;43(6):1298-303. doi: 10.1097/00006123-199812000-00016.


Objective: A number of anteriorly located cranial base and extracranial lesions receive their vascular supply wholly or in part from the ophthalmic artery, and embolization of the ophthalmic artery can be helpful in the management of these lesions, either as the primary treatment or as an adjunct to surgery. We present situations in which the embolization of lesions involving the ophthalmic artery was performed to effect a partial or total cure of the lesion.

Methods: Twelve patients underwent a total of 15 embolization attempts on lesions involving the ophthalmic artery. Four patients had arteriovenous malformations of the orbit, four had dural arteriovenous fistulae, two had orbital meningiomas, one had a planum sphenoidale meningioma, and one had a juvenile nasal angiofibroma. In each case, a Tracker No. 18 microcatheter (Target Therapeutics, Inc., Fremont, CA) was navigated into the ophthalmic artery using a steerable guidewire and digital road mapping. Embolic agents included polyvinyl alcohol particles ranging from 350 to 1500 microm in diameter, 2-mm platinum microcoils, and n-butyl-cyanoacrylate. In 12 of 15 cases, lidocaine and amytal provocation tests were conducted before any attempt at embolization to assess the role of the ophthalmic artery in vision.

Results: Embolization was successfully performed in the 14 situations in which it was attempted. Positive results of two lidocaine/amytal tests were noted. In one case, embolization was not attempted. In the other case, a larger caliber embolic agent (2-mm platinum coils) was used. A single transient decrease in visual acuity lasting 4 days was the only embolization-related complication.

Conclusion: Proper case selection, judicious use of embolic agents, and use of provocative testing can result in safe embolization of lesions supplied by the ophthalmic artery.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amobarbital
  • Angiofibroma / blood supply
  • Angiofibroma / surgery
  • Angiofibroma / therapy*
  • Arteriovenous Fistula / surgery
  • Arteriovenous Fistula / therapy
  • Arteriovenous Malformations / surgery
  • Arteriovenous Malformations / therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Dura Mater / blood supply*
  • Embolization, Therapeutic* / adverse effects
  • Embolization, Therapeutic* / instrumentation
  • Embolization, Therapeutic* / methods
  • Enbucrilate / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Lidocaine
  • Male
  • Meningeal Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Meningeal Neoplasms / surgery
  • Meningeal Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Meningioma / blood supply
  • Meningioma / surgery
  • Meningioma / therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nose Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Nose Neoplasms / surgery
  • Nose Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Ophthalmic Artery* / anatomy & histology
  • Orbital Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Orbital Neoplasms / surgery
  • Orbital Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Particle Size
  • Polyvinyl Alcohol / therapeutic use
  • Prostheses and Implants
  • Retinal Artery / anatomy & histology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vision Disorders / etiology
  • Vision Disorders / prevention & control


  • Polyvinyl Alcohol
  • Lidocaine
  • Enbucrilate
  • Amobarbital