Vascular bypass is performed in neurosurgery for a variety of pathological entities, including extracranial atherosclerotic disease, extra- and intracranial aneurysms, and tumors involving the carotid artery (CA) at the skull base or cervical regions. Creation of an interposition saphenous vein graft (SVG) is the typical method of choice when the superficial temporal artery is not an option.
One hundred thirty consecutive patients treated with SVG between July 1988 and December 2002 at the Mayo Clinic were studied. A total of 130 procedures were performed in 130 patients. The indications were intracranial aneurysm in 51 patients (39%), CA occlusive disease in 36 (28%), extracranial CA aneurysm in 17 (13%), tumors involving the cervical CA in 11 (8%), vertebral artery occlusive disease in eight (6%), and other indications in six patients (5%). Among patients treated for intracranial aneurysms, 43 harbored giant aneurysms (> 25 mm in widest diameter) whereas the remaining eight patients harbored aneurysms that were large (15–25 mm in widest diameter). Among patients with CA occlusive disease, high-grade stenosis at the CA bifurcation was present in 29 and CA occlusion was demonstrated in seven.
The use of SVG bypass remains a valuable component of the neurosurgical armamentarium for a variety of pathological entities. Despite a general trend toward decreased use because of improved endovascular technology, surgical facility with this procedure should be maintained.