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How I do it: Sternocleidomastoid sparing approach for the right vertebral artery to common carotid artery transposition.

BACKGROUND: Direct surgery is an important option to treat vertebral artery (VA) stenosis.

METHOD: A patient with symptomatic stenosis at the origin of the right VA underwent transposition of the right VA to the common carotid artery (CCA). Using the sternocleidomastoid sparing approach, the VA was anastomosed to the posterior wall of the CCA by twisting the CCA to expose its posterior wall to face the operative field.

CONCLUSION: This approach, consisting of securing the proximal VA and then following it to its distal end, not only preserves the sternocleidomastoid muscle but also protects the sympathetic chains and thoracic duct.

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