Exposure of the V1-V3 segments of the vertebral artery via the posterior cervical triangle: A cadaveric feasibility study

Academic Article


  • Object. Surgical exposure of the extracranial part of the vertebral artery (VA) is occasionally necessary. Historically, the greater portion of the extracranial portion of the VA has been approached by traversing the anterior cervical triangle. The authors speculated that this entire segment of the VA could be reached with equal efficacy via the posterior cervical triangle (PCT). Methods. Six adult cadavers underwent dissection of the left and right VAs via the PCT. The entire extracranial VA was easily exposed through this approach. Only three of 12 sides required the transection of the clavicular head of the sternocleidomastoid muscle for exposure of the most proximal segment of the VA as it originated from the subclavian artery. No gross injury to the VA or other regional vessels or nerves was noted. Conclusions. The authors found that the extracranial VA can be exposed easily through the PCT. Following confirmation of this technique in vivo, this approach may be added to the surgeon's armamentarium for exposing the extracranial segment of the VA.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Tubbs RS; Shoja MM; Acakpo-Satchivi L; Wellons JC; Blount JP; Oakes WJ; Iskandar BJ
  • Start Page

  • 320
  • End Page

  • 323
  • Volume

  • 5
  • Issue

  • 4