Anterolateral approach for subaxial vertebral artery decompression in the treatment of rotational occlusion syndrome: results of a personal series and technical note

Sabino Luzzi, Cristian Gragnaniello, Alice Giotta Lucifero, Stefano Marasco, Yasmeen Elsawaf, Mattia Del Maestro, Samer K. Elbabaa, Renato Galzio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: To report the results of a retrospective series and a technical note about the anterolateral approach for the treatment of the rotational occlusion syndrome (ROS) involving the subaxial V2 segment of the vertebral artery (VA). Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the data of a cohort of patients that underwent an anterolateral approach to decompress the VA as they suffered from ROS secondary to a subaxial compression. A dynamic study with ultrasonography, CT, MRI, and catheter-based angiography were obtained in all cases. Severe symptomatology and cerebellar-brainstem strokes were indications for surgery. The anterolateral approach involved a pre-sternocleidomastoid precarotid exposure. The retro-longus colli and pre-scalenic corridors were used to access the C5-C6 and C3-C4 segment, respectively, and to perform the decompression. Results: Twelve patients were treated. Recurrent drop attacks were present in all cases. Osteophytes at C5 and C6 were the most common causes of subaxial VA compression. Anterior decompression stand-alone was performed in all but 1 patient. A recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy and a numbness of the C5 nerve root were the only complications observed, both transient. A satisfactory untethering of the VA with a complete recovery was achieved in all patients, apart from those with severe infratentorial strokes. Discussion read: Anterolateral approach allows for an effective and safe treatment of the ROS involving the subaxial portion of the VA. Retro-longus colli and pre-scalenic corridors, developed through a precarotid exposure, have an anatomical rationale in decreasing the risks of complications. Decompression stand-alone is adequate in almost the totality of cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-125
Number of pages16
JournalNeurological Research
Volume43
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Anterolateral approach
  • Bow hunter’s stroke
  • dynamic angiography
  • rotational occlusion syndrome
  • vertebral artery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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