Carotid and Cranial Nerve Reconstruction after Removal of Cavernous Sinus Lesions

Laligam N. Sekhar, Chandra N. Sen, Giuseppe Lanzino, Spiros Pomonis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


During the last 7 years, approximately 170 neoplasms, and 35 vascular lesions involving the cavernous sinus were treated by the first two authors. During the treatment of such lesions, the direct vein graft reconstruction of the internal carotid artery from the petrous to the supraclinoid or infraclinoid ICA was performed in 23 patients. Graft occlusion occurred in 3 patients and in one of these, it was successfully salvaged by placing a long venous graft from the extracranial ICA to the M3 segment of the middle cerebral artery. The latter 3 patients were neurologically normal. One patient with significant atherosclerotic disease suffered the dissection of the distal internal carotid artery with the graft being patent. The dissection presumably occurred because of the separation of the intima and the media and an improper suturing technique. This patient eventually died. Two patients with severely compromised collateral circulation suffered minor strokes due to the temporary occlssion of the ICA. This has been avoided in the more recent patients by the adoption of brain protection techniques such as moderate hypothermia, induced hypertension, and barbiturate coma. Low dose heparin therapy during grafting and high dose intravenous steroids prior to the grafting also appear to be beneficial. Direct vein graft reconstruction of the intracavernous carotid artery is a valuable tool during the management of cavernous sinus lesions. The advantages and disadvantages of this technique as well as the pros and cons of other revascularization techniques will be discussed. During microsurgical removal of cavernous sinus lesions, the cranial nerves III–VI were reconstructed by direct resuture or by nerve grafting in 16 patients. In the majority of these patients, recovery of cranial nerve function was observed, which was very encouraging. Cranial nerve reconstruction should be attempted whenever the nerves are sacrificed in a patient who has a fair to excellent eye function preoperatively or whenever inadvertent injury to such nerves occurs during cavernous sinus surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-193
Number of pages7
JournalThe Keio Journal of Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1991


  • arterial bypass
  • nerve anastomosis
  • nerve grafting
  • vein graft

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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