Junctional Internal Carotid Artery Aneurysms: The Schrödinger's Cat of Vascular Neurosurgery

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cerebral aneurysm, paraclinoid, internal carotid artery, distal dural ring, carotid cave, ophthalmic

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Objectives: Despite advances in neuroimaging, it is not always definitive whether a paraclinoid aneurysm is intradural or entirely extradural. We illustrate the potential use of surgical exploration in these aneurysms that we refer to as “junctional” aneurysms.

Methods: Retrospective review of eight patients with unruptured aneurysms who underwent a planned surgical exploration of a junctional aneurysm.

Results: Of the eight patients, three underwent exploration of the aneurysm during surgery for a different aneurysm. All three of these were found to be extradural. Five patients underwent a craniotomy for the exclusive purpose of clarifying the location of the aneurysm. Two of these cases were found to be intradural and were clipped. Two cases were found to be extradural. In one patient, the initially extradural aneurysm was converted into an intradural aneurysm during removal of the anterior clinoid process, necessitating surgical clipping. One transient third nerve palsy was observed.

Discussion: Until further progress in neuroimaging allows clinicians to determine unequivocally the exact anatomical location of a paraclinoid aneurysm, we advocate the use of the term junctional aneurysm to reflect the clinical uncertainty inherent in management decisions made regarding these aneurysms. We have illustrated a strategy of surgical exploration in select patients.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Neurological Surgery Part B, v. 76, issue 2, p. 150-156