Vertebral Basilar Insufficiency

Vertebrobasilar insufficiency refers to a condition in which blood flow to the vertebral and basilar arteries is restricted, thereby providing transient insufficient blood flow to the posterior portions of the brain.

This condition is typically very serious and can even be deadly. Symptoms include: vertigo, ataxia, dizziness, syncope, drop attacks, visual disturbances, double vision and motor and sensory changes (sometimes bilateral).

Nebraska Medicine offers comprehensive endovascular and cerebrovascular treatment by highly trained and skilled Neurosurgeons to provide you the best outcome possible.

Why come to Nebraska Medicine for aneurysms and other cerebrovascular conditions:


Nebraska Medicine is the only facility in the area with three fellowship-trained endovascular neurosurgeons on staff. Endovascular surgeons have special training in endovascular surgeries, which are innovative, less invasive procedures used to treat problems affecting the blood vessels. One of these neurosurgeons also has additional fellowship training in cerebrovascular Neurosurgery.

Advanced Diagnostic Techniques

Our staff uses radiographic angiography to get a definitive anatomical evaluation of the involved arteries. A cerebral angiography may also be performed. This involves inserting a needle into the femoral artery and then threading a wire and catheter into the vessel. A contrast agent is injected into the catheter, allowing the radiologist or surgeon to clearly view the anatomy of the arteries.

Getting the Right Treatment for Stroke

Approximately 25 percent of strokes and transient ischemic attacks occur in the vertebrobasilar area. Nebraska Medicine has the only stroke team in the region that can provide 24/7 care of stroke patients using a well-defined, systematic approach to care and treatment to achieve optimal results.

Vertebrobasilar insufficiency is often treated with anti-coagulation medications.

For more serious cases, one of three basic surgical revascularization procedures may be performed: bypass grafting (grafting a new blood vessel around the site of the narrowing), direct arterial anastomosis (transposition), and endarterectomy (plaque removal from the affected artery to increase blood flow). Because of the small size of the vertebral artery and the challenges of surgical access to this region, morbidity and mortality rates are high.

Accreditations and Awards

Nebraska Medicine's Stroke Center has been certified by the Joint Commission since 2005 and was the first nationally certified stroke center in the state.