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severe headache after vertebral artery occlusion

A friend of mine just had an endoscopic cervical discectomy and as a result suffered a vertebral artery occlusion.  Less than 24 hours after being released from the hospital he experienced dizziness, weakness in his right side and numbness in his face.  He returned to the ER where they admitted him and performed an MRI that showed the occlusion.  Basically, he had a mini stroke or tia but Dr's said no damage to the cerebellum.  He was released and ordered to take aspirin.  He was told that the right vertebral artery would take over and that he could live a normal life with just the one artery.

Since being released from the hospital, he is suffering with severe headaches.  Has anyone experienced this?  If so, how long before they subside?  Also, he is worried that he may still be at risk for a stroke? He is 45 years old and otherwise in great shape physically.  


This discussion is related to transient compression of a vertebral artery in the back of the neck.
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Avatar universal
Thank you for the response Dr. Sharma.  He did experience a tia within 24 hours of surgery that was recognized by the MRI when he went back to the hospital.  The only symptoms he's experiencing right now are headache, neck pain and continued weakness in the affected arm.  The surgeon relayed that these symptoms are normal after surgery and that it is highly unlikely that he would suffer another tia or stroke due to the occlusion.  As far as I know, he doesn't have any of the risk factors you listed above.  He is very conscientious regarding his health and he works out regularly at the gym lifting weights and doing cardiovascular excercise. In your opinion, what is the normal recovery time for endoscopic surgery of the cervical spine and would the artery occlusion delay his recovery time?  I look forward to your reply.

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Avatar universal
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Hi there. Vertebral artery occlusion could have a gradual onset with patients experiencing transient ischemic attacks for days or weeks prior to occlusion. symptoms of vertebrobasilar strokes include vertigo, nausea and vomiting, disturbance of consciousness, headaches, visual disturbance and visual defects, speech disturbances, sensory disturbance affecting pain and temperature, motor weakness on the opposite side and incontinence.
risk factors associated with stroke are coronary and other heart disease, diabetes, family history of stroke, hypertension, smoking etc. you need to be evaluated by a physician for any concomitant risk factors which could jeopardize and put you at risk of a stroke. Hope this helps. Take care.


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