OBJECTIVE: To describe the bypass techniques, cranial base approaches, results of treatment, causes of failure, and lessons that are learned in patients with posterior circulation aneurysms requiring revascularization.
METHODS: Retrospectively, 19 patients with posterior fossa aneurysms requiring revascularization procedures operated on between 1991 and 2002 were reviewed. Preoperative and postoperative clinical information, neurological examinations, imaging data, and updated follow-ups were reviewed. Patient outcome is reported as the most current Karnofsky Performance Scale score.
RESULTS: A total of 22 arterial bypasses were performed in 19 patients for posterior fossa circulation aneurysms between 1991 and 2002. The mean follow-up was 41 months. Total graft patency rate (including patients requiring reoperation) was 86.4% (before) and 100% (after) salvage procedures. Patient outcome was 84.2% with Karnofsky Performance Scale score 80 to 90, and three deaths occurred perioperatively. Only one death could be attributed to the failure of the radial artery graft because of spasm and subsequent rupture during angioplasty.
CONCLUSION: Certain graft selection criteria and technical considerations contribute to the success or failure of bypass grafts in the management of posterior circulation aneurysms. Bypass procedures remain an important method of management of complex posterior circulation aneurysms, in addition to endovascular procedures.