Carotid Artery Dissection

Carotid artery dissection is a condition that begins as a tear in one of the carotid arteries on either side of the neck. This tear allows blood under arterial pressure to enter the wall of the artery and splits its layers. Intramural hematomas or aneurysmal dilatation is the end result, both of which can be a source of micro-emboli, which have a mass effect on surrounding structures.

Carotid artery dissection is a definite cause of ischemic stroke in all age groups and most frequently occurswhen people are in their 50's, accounting for a much larger percentage of strokes in young patients. Dissection of the internal carotid artery sometimes occurs intracranially or extracranially, with the latter being more frequent. Internal carotid artery dissection can be caused by major or minor trauma, or it can be spontaneous, in which case genetic, familial, or heritable disorder are likely etiologies.

Carotid Artery Dissection Symptoms

Symptoms of carotid artery dissection may include:

  • Difficulty with speech.
  • Facial droop
  • Pulsatile tinnitus (whooshing sound in one ear)
  • Stroke with visual disturbance
  • Sudden neck pain, head pain or face pain with neurologic symptoms such as a small pupil on one side or drooping eyelid, also known as Horner's syndrome
  • Vision loss in one eye, which is also called amaurosis fugax
  • weakness on one-side of the body

Getting Diagnosed             

Our team of specialists provide thorough neurological evaluations using the latest diagnostic technology including CT angiography and 3-D angiography.

We work very closely with the departments of Neurosurgery, Interventional Neuroradiology, Neurology and Radiation Oncology, as well as the Neurocritical Care Center and Stroke Center to ensure an accurate diagnosis and the appropriate treatment for the best outcome.

Your Path to Health and Wellness Starts Here

The Brain Aneurysm Center and Cerebrovascular Surgery and Endovascular Neurosurgery Center of Northwell Health Neuroscience Institute combines advanced technical knowledge and cutting-edge procedures for diagnosing and treating arteriovenous malformations, ruptured and non-ruptured aneurysms, carotid artery dissection and related conditions.


Make an appointment

Call now to find a Northwell Health Neuroscience Institute physician.

The Neuroscience Institute

We are dedicated to the world-class diagnosis and treatment of neurological diseases and disorders.