Can sectioning the posterior communicating artery be predicted with computed tomography angiography in the microsurgical clipping of basilar apex aneurysms?

  • Tomasz SzmudaEmail author
  • Paweł Słoniewski
  • Shan Ali
  • Jarosław Dzierżanowski
  • Alexandra Kamieniecki
  • Kamil Siedlecki
Original Article - Vascular Neurosurgery - Aneurysm
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Vascular Neurosurgery – Aneurysm



Microsurgical clipping is a viable option for managing high-riding basilar apex aneurysms (BAXs) using a transsylvian approach. Cutting the posterior communicating artery (PCoA) at the perforator-free zone provides sufficient exposure of BAX, although it is not always safe. The aim was to qualitatively predict sectioning of the interfering PCoA by using preoperative computed tomographic angiography (CTA).


A virtual trajectory from the lesser sphenoid wing to the neck of the aneurysm was simulated on CTA in 19 consecutive patients operated on BAX aneurysms from 2013 to 2018. The angles on CTA resembled the typical view through the extended pterional craniotomy. Next, the ipsilateral PCoA was tracked from the internal carotid to its end at the posterior cerebral artery in the trajectory.


The opticocarotid and carotid-oculomotor window served as the corridors for entering the interpeduncular fossa in 16 patients (84.2%) and in 3 patients (15.8%), respectively. The PCoA was intentionally cut during nine surgeries and preserved in 10 of them. The PCoA was cut more often when positioned toward the cranial base and more medially in the corridor; both the Kernel density analysis and the data points representing the position of the PCoA supported this finding (p < 0.01). The CTA-based position of either ends of the PCoA in the trajectory did not differ between cut and not-cut groups (p = 0.19–0.96). Aneurysm projection, rupture, size, PCoA diameter, length, and other distances on CTA were not related to the sectioning of PCoA (p > 0.05).


The probability of PCoA sectioning is higher when the PCoA is positioned medially and closer to the cranial base. If the anatomical course of the PCoA is recognized beforehand, it can contraindicate surgery. Preoperative CTA-based planning facilitates the surgery of BAX aneurysms. Therefore, CTA can make microsurgical clipping planning more predictable for the neurosurgeon and safer for the patient.


Cerebral aneurysm Basilar artery Posterior communicating artery Surgical clipping Computed tomographic angiography 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical permission

For preparation of this and previous articles, the ethical approval was obtained in the institution (IRB Committee number: NKEBN/209/2008).

Informed consent

Informed consent for treatment and data processing was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

701_2019_4138_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (401 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 400 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neurosurgery DepartmentMedical University of GdanskGdanskPoland
  2. 2.Student’s Scientific Circle, Neurosurgery DepartmentMedical University of GdanskGdanskPoland

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