Pharyngo-occipital artery variant arising from the internal carotid artery impacting surgical technique during carotid endarterectomy

Randall B. Graham, Patrick A. Sugrue, Rudy J. Rahme, H. Hunt Batjer, Bernard R. Bendok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Background and importance: Extracranial carotid artery atherosclerotic stenosis typically occurs at the junction of the common carotid, external carotid and internal carotid arteries. Although rare, anatomical arterial variants can influence surgical strategy and can have a significant impact on surgical complications and patient outcome. An unusual case of atherosclerotic stenosis of the internal carotid artery (ICA) at the origin of a pharyngo-occipital variant off of the ICA is reported here. Clinical presentation: A 60-year-old man presented with symptomatic severe left cervical ICA stenosis. The stenosis was related to the origin of the pharyngooccipital common trunk which arose from the ICA rather than the typical origin off of the external carotid artery. The patient underwent successful left carotid endarterectomy with special attention to this variant anatomy. Conclusion: Anomalies of the extracranial ICA, although rare, can influence the location of atherosclerotic disease and the surgical endarterectomy strategy. A detailed anatomical study should be performed prior to surgery to minimize risk and improve patient outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e14
JournalJournal of neurointerventional surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2013


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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