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.