Bow hunter syndrome is defined as vertebrobasilar insufficiency due to mechanical occlusion of the vertebral artery during head and neck rotation. In many cases, this is due to osteophyte formation, disc herniation, cervical spondylosis, tendinous bands, or tumors. Symptomatic disease may vary from inducing transient vertigo to posterior circulation stroke. Although digital subtraction angiography is the gold standard in diagnosis, the underlying pathology in bow hunter syndrome may be detected with doppler ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) angiogram, magnetic resonance imaging and angiogram, and diagnostic angiography with dynamic testing. In this case, a 72-yr-old female with a recent right-sided cerebellar stroke underwent operative intervention to decompress the right vertebral artery at C4-C5 in order to relieve symptomatic bow hunter syndrome. Preoperative CT angiogram revealed bilateral significant stenosis of the vertebral arteries at the C4-C5 level with follow-up diagnostic angiogram revealing complete occlusion of the right vertebral artery with the head rotated right (compared to 80% occlusion observed when the patient's head was rotated left). Prior to the procedure, the patient experienced lightheadedness, diaphoresis, dizziness, and a sensation of facial flushing exacerbated by rotating her head to the right. To relieve her symptoms, operative intervention was undertaken. To access the lateral osteophytes originating from the uncovertebral joint, a C4-5 discectomy is utilized. The vertebral artery was decompressed, and a standard anterior cervical fusion was performed. Postoperatively, the patient was stable and was discharged 1 d after surgery. Postoperative imaging showed adequate decompression of the right vertebral artery at the level of C4-5.
The authors confirm that they have obtained, prior to submission, a written release from the patient authorizing use of this surgical video to be submitted and published in the journal Operative Neurosurgery, as well as consent to perform the procedure.