Internal carotid artery injury in endoscopic endonasal surgery: A systematic review

Oliver Y. Chin, Ritam Ghosh, Christina H. Fang, Soly Baredes, James K. Liu, Jean Anderson Eloy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Objectives/Hypothesis Internal carotid artery (ICA) injury during endoscopic endonasal surgery (EES) is a known and feared complication of paranasal sinus and skull base procedures. These ICA injuries can result in stroke, cranial nerve palsies, and death. This review examines the setting of injury along with the treatment approaches, and patient outcomes. Study Design Systematic review using PubMed/MEDLINE and EMBASE. Methods The databases were searched for articles reporting cases of ICA injury during EES. Variables analyzed included patient demographics, operative approach, preoperative diagnosis, setting of injury, repair method, imaging studies, patient outcomes, and follow-up. Results Twenty-five articles with 50 cases were included in this review. The EES approach was used for skull base procedures in 34 cases and for inflammatory disease in 16 cases. The most commonly injured ICA segment was the cavernous (34 cases), followed by the ophthalmic (three cases). Injuries occurred more commonly on the left (1.3:1). Injury occurred in the setting of various steps during EES with instruments. Stereotactic image guidance was reported in two cases. Initial hemostasis was achieved with packing in 35 cases, endoscopic clip sacrifice in four cases, bipolar coagulation with the intent to seal defect in three cases, and bipolar coagulation with the intent to sacrifice the ICA in one case. Intraoperative or immediate postoperative angiography was reported in 27 cases. Conclusions The incidence of reported cases of ICA injury during EES remains low. Left-sided injuries to the cavernous segment of the ICA occurred more frequently than injuries on the right.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)582-590
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Endoscopic sinus surgery
  • ICA injury
  • endoscopic endonasal approach
  • internal carotid artery injury
  • intraoperative complication
  • skull base surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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