, Volume 148, Issue 4, pp 375-387
Date: 30 Nov 2005

Vascular injury and complication in neurosurgical spine surgery

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Summary

Vascular injury is an uncommon, but not rare complication of spine surgery. The consequence of vascular injury may be quite devastating, but its incidence can be reduced by understanding the mechanisms of injury. Properly managing vascular injury can reduce mortality and morbidity of patients. A review of the literature was conducted to provide an update on the etiology and management of vascular injury and complication in neurosurgical spine surgery. The vascular injuries were categorized according to each surgical procedure responsible for the injury, i.e., anterior screw fixation of the odontoid fracture, anterior cervical spine surgery, posterior C1–2 arthrodesis, posterior cervical spine surgery, anterolateral approach for thoracolumbar spine fracture, posterior thoracic spine surgery, scoliosis surgery, anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF), lumbar disc arthroplasty, lumbar discectomy, and posterior lumbar spine surgery. The incidence, mechanisms of injury, and reparative measures were discussed for each surgical procedure. Detailed coverage was especially given to vascular injury associated with ALIF, which may have been underestimated. The accumulation of anatomical knowledge and advanced imaging studies has made complex spine surgery safer and more reliable. It is not clear, however, whether the incidence of vascular injury has been reduced significantly in all procedures of spine surgery. Emerging new techniques, such as microendoscopic discectomy and lumbar disc arthroplasty, seem to be promising, but we need to keep in mind their safety issues, including vascular injury and complication.