Is an Angiogram needed before Cervical Spine Surgery for a Herniated Disc?

One of the possible complications of either an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion and/or artificial disc replacement is damage to the vertebral artery. A recent paper by Courtney O’Donnell in the journal Spine concludes that the course of the vertebral artery varies very little (less than 1.5%). Based on that finding, she and her colleagues feel that a CT angiogram prior to surgery is unnecessary. This paper is important in that it will obviate the need for many patients to undergo the angiogram procedure.  That test can now be deemed unnecessary.

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