The percutaneous, endoscope-assisted anterior cervical discectomy is a relatively new procedure, and because of its novelty, complications are minimal and pertinent literature is scarce. This approach relies on a sufficient anatomical understanding of the vital neurovascular structures in the operating workspace. Although complications are rare, they can be significant.
The patient presented with difficulty breathing following an anterior percutaneous cervical discectomy performed at an outpatient surgical center. Imaging revealed a prevertebral hematoma and multiple carotid pseudoaneurysms. Given the large prevertebral hematoma and concern for imminent airway collapse, the authors proceeded with emergent intubation and surgical evacuation of the clot.
The authors propose managing complications in a fashion similar to those for comparable injuries after classic anterior approaches. Definitive management of our patient’s carotid injury would require stenting and, therefore, dual antiplatelet agents. Thus, the authors proceeded with the hematoma evacuation first. Additionally, careful dissection was needed to decrease further carotid damage. Thus, the authors made a more rostral incision to maintain the given stability of the carotid insult before the angiographic intervention to follow. It is the authors’ hope that the technical pearls from this two-staged open hematoma evacuation and endovascular stenting may guide future presurgical and intraoperative planning and management of complications, should they arise.