SOVEREIGN, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SOVEREIGN, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Damaged neck artery. Coloured X-ray of damage (purple) to the left vertebral artery (red) in the neck. This frontal view shows the neck region of the spine (down centre), with the jaw bones and teeth at upper left (head turned to the patient's right). The collar bones are at bottom. The 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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