DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Carotid aneurysm in the neck of a 94-year-old woman. An aneurysm is a balloon-like bulge in the wall of an artery, here the carotid artery. It occurs when the artery wall tears, either due to a degenerative disease, a congenital deficiency, or late-stage infection with syphilis. Blood enters the wall and runs along its muscular coat, causing a swelling to develop. Here the aneurysm has occurred at the carotid bifurcation, the point on this side of the neck where the carotid splits into the internal and external carotid arteries. Treatment is by reconstructive surgery, which usually bypasses the affected area using an intact blood vessel from elsewhere in the body.
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