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Unusual Aneurysms of the Distal Internal Carotid Artery

Gary J. Redekop and Barrie Woodhurst

Abstract: Background: Supraclinoid carotid aneurysms have traditionally been classified according to their relation to the major carotid branches, but considerable variation exists with respect to site of origin, projection, and relationship to the skull base. Distal internal carotid aneurysms with a superior or medial projection are uncommon vascular lesions, with an unusually high incidence of operative complications. Methods: Surgical experience with five patients suffering from subarachnoid hemorrhage due to ruptured aneurysms of the dorsomedial wall of the distal internal carotid artery is presented, with emphasis on their angiographic appearance, anatomical features, and operative management. Results: All five patients underwent surgical clipping. Intra-operative rupture occurred in two cases, with avulsion of the aneurysm from the internal carotid artery in both. A third patient experienced recurrent subarachnoid hemorrhage three days after uneventful surgery, due to the clip shearing off of the parent vessel. Conclusions: Distal internal carotid aneurysms do not conform to the usual principles of aneurysm formation and are unique in their dorsomedial location unrelated to an arterial bifurcation. Although their anatomy is straightforward and exposure is not restricted by bone or dural structures of the skull base, they possess extremely fragile necks which make surgical management particularly hazardous.

Can. J. Neurol. Sci. 1998; 25: 202-208


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