Current opinion in otolaryngology: update on vascular injuries in craniomaxillofacial fractures

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The primary purpose of this chapter is to define current recommendations for vascular work-up of patients with craniomaxillofacial (CMF) trauma with emphasis on imaging to include intraoperative fluorescence, angiography, and surgical exploration. The second goal is to review current management recommendations for observation versus surgical exploration based on the neck zones of injury.

Recent findings

Over the past two decades, endovascular techniques are increasingly utilized, particularly in zones I and III of the neck. Additionally, modern advances in radiographic technology have allowed for selective exploration of penetrating zone II injuries. A high suspicion for blunt cerebrovascular injury should be maintained for patients with high-speed deceleration mechanisms of injury, with a majority of patients managed with medical therapy or conservative monitoring over surgical intervention.

Summary

CMF fractures are associated with vascular injuries to the intracranial carotid system, extracranial carotid system, or vertebral artery system. A thorough understanding of at risk patients, optimal work-up, and timely treatment algorithms is imperative given the devastating sequellae of stroke and death.

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