RUPTURE OF THE carotid artery following neck dissection is one of the most serious complications of head and neck surgery in cancer patients. If survival occurs after massive carotid hemorrhage, mandatory ligation of the carotid may be associated with 50% mortality rate.1 On the other hand ligation of the carotid for neurosurgical procedures may be associated with a mortality rate of 10%. The most important factors which may relate to the higher rate in the cancer patients are arteriosclerosis, low blood volume, borderline nutritional status and circulatory instability. These statistics only partially reflect the gravity of this problem since the morbidity of carotid ligation may also be catastrophic. It is the aim of this paper to discuss the problem and methods of carotid artery protection and to present a new technique.
Factors Predisposing to Carotid Rupture
There is a trend in the management of head and neck cancer toward
Cheek HB, Rise EN. Carotid Artery Protection and a New Technique. Arch Otolaryngol. 1967;86(2):179–182. doi:10.1001/archotol.1967.00760050181012