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Vertebral artery dissection revisited
  1. A Aggrawal,
  2. P Setia
  1. Department of Forensic Medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India
  1. Correspondence to:
    A Aggrawal
    S-299, Greater Kailash-1, 110048 New Delhi, India; dr_anil{at}

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Vertebral artery dissection is considered to be one of the most difficult dissections that a forensic pathologist has to undertake. Traditionally, vertebral arteries have been dissected using two time-tested procedures. The first procedure is carried out by removing the neck block and decalcifying the block.1 The neck block can be removed using the anterior or the posterior approach. The anterior approach is less time consuming but is more difficult to carry out. The posterior approach, on the other hand, is more time consuming but is simpler to carry out. The other procedure requires the use of special instruments for dissection.2 These are a Swann–Morton number 5 scalpel handle with number 11 blade, Swann–Morton number 3 scalpel handle with number 12 blade (curved) and a pair of Universal wire-cutting scissors (curved heavy pattern). These three instruments, although considered to be cheap and readily available, were not so when we tried to find …

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  • Competing interests: None declared.