Background: Sometimes the superficial temporal artery (STA) is not available for an extracranial-intracranial (EC-IC) bypass procedure. An alternative vessel for an EC-IC bypass is the posterior auricular artery (PAA) if it extends to the temporoparietal area with a diameter large enough. We assessed the prevalence of an appropriate PAA as an alternative donor vessel and report three illustrative cases in which the PAA was used for EC-IC bypass surgery.
Methods: A literature search was performed on the use of the PAA as a donor vessel for bypass surgery. Secondly, a prospective database of bypass surgeries was reviewed to calculate the prevalence of a PAA with a diameter of at least 1 mm in the parietotemporal area. Finally, three illustrative cases are reported that describe various indications for the revascularisation procedures with their clinical, surgical and imaging features.
Results: Two articles have previously described the use of the PAA for bypass surgery and their results are summarised. The prevalence of a PAA that would be appropriate for an EC-IC bypass in patients with intracranial vascular pathology is 5.7 %. The presented cases demonstrate that the PAA can be successfully used for EC-IC bypass surgery with good flow velocities and patency.
Conclusions: The PAA is a rarely described as an appropriate donor vessel for an EC-IC bypass. Its prevalence is 5.7 % and it can successfully be used as an alternative donor vessel. The awareness among cerebrovascular surgeons about the presence of a PAA and knowledge about its anatomy may be valuable.