Penetrating intracranial nail-gun injury to the middle cerebral artery: A successful primary repair

Albert M. Isaacs, Sung Joo Yuh, R. John Hurlbert, Alim P. Mitha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Penetrating nail-gun injuries to the head are rare, however, the incidence has been gradually rising over the last decade. While there is a large volume of case reports in the literature, there are only a few incidences of cerebrovascular injury. We present a case of a patient with a nail-gun injury to the brain, which compromised the cerebral vasculature. In this article, we present the case, incidence, pathology, and a brief literature review of penetrating nail-gun injuries to highlight the principles of management pertaining to penetration of cerebrovascular structures. Case Description: A 26-year-old male presented with a penetrating nail-gun injury to his head. There were no neurological deficits. Initial imaging revealed that the nail had penetrated the cranium and suggested the vasculature to be intact. However, due to the proximity of the nail to the circle of Willis the operative approach was tailored in anticipation of a vascular injury. Intraoperatively removal of the foreign body demonstrated a laceration to the M1 branch of the middle cerebral artery (MCA), which was successfully repaired. Conclusion: To our knowledge, this is the first reported case of a vascular arterial injury to the MCA from a nail-gun injury. It is imperative to have a high clinical suspicion for cerebrovascular compromise in penetrating nail-gun injuries even when conventional imaging suggests otherwise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number166168
JournalSurgical Neurology International
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Craniotomy
  • middle cerebral artery
  • nail-gun
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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