Damaged neck artery. X-ray of damage (dark area) to the right vertebral artery (white) in the neck. This side view shows the neck region of the spine (lower frame), with the head bones at upper right. This type of injury is known as a dissection, and can be caused by twisting of the neck, which tears the artery. In severe cases, it can lead to interruption of the blood supply to the brain, and a stroke. Minor damage will heal by itself, with blood-thinning drugs used to reduce the risk of a stroke. A contrast medium has been injected into the blood to highlight the blood vessels, a technique known as angiography.
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