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  • Author or Editor: Stanley L. Barnwell x
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James K. Liu, Kelly Mahaney, Stanley L. Barnwell, Sean O. McMenomey and Johnny B. Delashaw Jr.

The anterior condylar confluence (ACC) is located on the external orifice of the canal of the hypoglossal nerve and provides multiple connections with the dural venous sinuses of the posterior fossa, internal jugular vein, and the vertebral venous plexus. Dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) of the ACC and hypoglossal canal (anterior condylar vein) are extremely rare. The authors present a case involving an ACC DAVF and hypoglossal canal that mimicked a hypervascular jugular bulb tumor.

This 53-year-old man presented with right hypoglossal nerve palsy. A right pulsatile tinnitus had resolved several months previously. Magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated an enhancing right-sided jugular foramen lesion involving the hypoglossal canal. Cerebral angiography revealed a hypervascular lesion at the jugular bulb, with early venous drainage into the extracranial vertebral venous plexus. This was thought to represent either a glomus jugulare tumor or a DAVF.

The patient underwent preoperative transarterial embolization followed by surgical exploration via a far-lateral transcondylar approach. At surgery, a DAVF was identified draining into the ACC and hypoglossal canal. The fistula was surgically obliterated, and this was confirmed on postoperative angiography. The patient's hypoglossal nerve palsy resolved.

Dural arteriovenous fistulas of the ACC and hypoglossal canal are rare lesions that can present with isolated hypoglossal nerve palsies. They should be included in the differential diagnosis of hypervascular jugular bulb lesions. The authors review the anatomy of the ACC and discuss the literature on DAVFs involving the hypoglossal canal.

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James K. Liu, Aclan Dogan, Dilantha B. Ellegala, Jonathan Carlson, Gary M. Nesbit, Stanley L. Barnwell and Johnny B. Delashaw Jr.


Surgical intervention may be required if endovascular embolization is insufficient to completely obliterate intracranial dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs). The authors report their 14-year experience with 23 patients harboring diverse intracranial DAVFs that required surgical intervention.


Between 1993 and 2007, 23 patients underwent surgery for intracranial DAVFs. The following types of DAVFs were treated: superior petrosal sinus (in 10 patients); parietooccipital (in 3); confluence of sinuses and ethmoidal (in 2 each); and tentorial, falcine, occipital, transverse-sigmoid, superior sagittal, and cavernous sinuses (in 1 patient each). In all cases, the authors' goal was to obliterate the DAVF venous outflow by direct surgical interruption of the leptomeningeal venous drainage. Transarterial embolization was used primarily as an adjunct to decrease flow to the DAVF prior to definitive treatment.


Complete angiographic obliteration of the DAVF was achieved in all cases. There were no complications of venous hypertension, venous infarction, or perioperative death. There were no recurrences and no further clinical events (new hemorrhages or focal neurological deficits) after a mean follow-up of 45 months.


The authors' experience emphasizes the importance of occluding venous outflow to obliterate intracranial DAVFs. Those that drain purely through leptomeningeal veins can be safely obliterated by surgically clipping the arterialized draining vein as it exits the dura. Radical excision of the fistula is not necessary.