Intraoperative angiography can be a valuable tool in the surgical management of vascular disorders in the CNS. This is typically accomplished via femoral artery puncture; however, this can be technically difficult in patients in the prone position. The authors describe the feasibility of intraoperative angiography via the popliteal artery in the prone patient.
Three patients underwent intraoperative spinal angiography in the prone position via vascular access through the popliteal artery. Standard angiography techniques were used, along with ultrasound and a micropuncture needle for initial vascular access. Two patients underwent intraoperative angiography to confirm the obliteration of dural arteriovenous fistulas. The third patient required unexpected intraoperative angiography when a tumor was concerning for a vascular malformation in the cervical spine.
All 3 patients tolerated the procedure without complication. The popliteal artery was easily accessed without any adaptation to typical patient positioning for these prone-position cases. This proved particularly beneficial when angiography was not part of the preoperative plan.
Intraoperative angiography via the popliteal artery is feasible and well tolerated. It presents significant benefit when obtaining imaging studies in patients in a prone position, with the added benefit of easy access, familiar anatomy, and low concern for catheter thrombosis or kinking.