Alejandra Mansilla; Alejandro Russo; Sofía Mansilla; Joaquín Calisto & Eduardo Olivera
Cranial nerve injury is one of the neurologic complications following carotid endarterectomy. The hypoglossal nerve is one of the most frequently injured nerves during carotid endarterectomy. Guidelines suggest that proper anatomic knowledge is crucial to avoid cranial nerve injury. The aim of the present study is to provide landmarks for the localization of the hypoglossal nerve during carotid endarterectomy. 33 anterior cervical triangles of formalin-fixed adult cadavers were dissected. The “carotid axis” was defined and measured, the level of the carotid bifurcation within the carotid axis was registered. “High carotid bifurcation” was considered for those carotid bifurcation found in the upper 25 mm of the carotid axis. The distance between the hypoglossal nerve and the carotid bifurcation was measured (length 1). The relationship between the hypoglossal nerve and the posterior belly of the digastric muscle was registered. For caudal positions, the distance between hypoglossal nerve and posterior belly of the digastric muscle was determined (length 2). Carotid axis range 88.3 mm-155.4 mm, average 125.8 mm. Level of the carotid bifurcation within the carotid axis range 75.3 mm-126.5 mm, mean 102.5 mm. High carotid bifurcation was found in 19 cases (57 %). Length 1 ranged from 1.6 mm to 38.1, mean 17.5. Finally, in 29 specimens (87.8 %) the hypoglossal nerve was caudal to posterior belly of the digastric muscle, whereas in 4 cases (12.2 %) it was posterior. Length 2 ranged from 1 mm to 17.0 mm, mean 6.9 mm. Distances between the hypoglossal nerve and nearby structures were determined. These findings may aid the surgeon in identifying the hypoglossal nerve during carotid endarterectomy and thus prevent its injury.
KEY WORDS: Anatomy; Neck; Hypoglossal nerve; Cranial nerve injury; Carotid endarterectomy.
MANSILLA, A.; RUSSO, A.; MANSILLA, S.; CALISTO, J. & OLIVERA, E. Landmarks for the hypoglossal nerve within the anterior cervical triangle. Int. J. Morphol., 40(2):516-520, 2022.