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Published online: 2023-06-05

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Distance of the cervical part of the internal carotid artery from the selected anatomical structures in the parapharyngeal space and its relation to patient characteristics

Agnieszka Lis1, Hanna Zając2, Krzysztof Lachowski3, Tomasz Zatoński4, Anna Olchowy5, Paweł Dąbrowski6, Zygmunt Domagała6, Cyprian Olchowy7


Anomalies of the internal carotid artery (ICA) can increase the risk of haemorrhage during common surgical procedures. The aim of this literature review was to summarize the current state of knowledge on the course of the internal carotid artery in the parapharyngeal space, including the impact of the patient characteristics on the distances between the artery and other anatomical structures, as well as symptoms accompanying the aberrations. Pathologies related to the course of ICA in the parapharyngeal space are common (10%-60% in the general population and up to 84.4% in the elderly). In women, the distances in the oropharynx area are shorter than in men. Although the number of morphological studies is growing, providing more information on this topic, the identified studies differ in the methods and results. Knowledge on the variability in the course of ICA can help identify patients at high risk for the ICA trauma during pharyngeal procedures.

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