Vertebral Artery Dissection (VAD)

Vertebral artery dissection is a tear in the wall of an artery in the neck, which supplies blood to the brain. The result is the formation of a blood clot, thickening of the arterial wall, and often an obstruction of blood flow. Most commonly, a VAD occurs due to blunt trauma to the neck such as from an accident or fall, assault, or sudden overextension.

Treatment usually involves blood-thinning drugs to minimize the risk for a clot and possibility of a stroke. Less commonly clot dissolving drugs are used, and at times angioplasty or stenting procedures. Surgery is typically only used in the most serious of cases.

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The Northwell Health Spine Center of Northwell Health Neuroscience Institute offers comprehensive spine evaluations and treatment plans by an expert team of neurosurgeons, physiatrists, nurses and therapists.


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