Saccular Aneurysm of the External Jugular Vein: A Case Report

Korean J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2014;47:171-173
ISSN: 2233-601X (Print)
□ Case Report □
ISSN: 2093-6516 (Online)
Saccular Aneurysm of the External Jugular Vein: A Case Report
Hae Young Lee, M.D.1, Sung Ho Cho, M.D.1, Taek Yong Ko, M.D.1, Hyun Su Kim, M.D.1,
Jong In Kim, M.D.1, Sung Dal Park, M.D.1, Sung Rae Cho, M.D.1, Bong Kwon Chun, M.D.2
Saccular aneurysm of the external jugular vein presenting as a neck mass is very rare. We report the surgical
treatment of an external jugular venous aneurysm in a 48-year-old female patient due to the cosmetic problem of
neck engorgement, concomitant with thyroidectomy for cancer.
Key words: 1. Venous disease
2. Aneurysm
3. Vascular disease
Pathological findings confirmed that the diagnosis was con-
sistent with a saccular venous aneurysm. In contrast to focal
A 48-year-old female patient visited our cardiovascular out-
thinned media with thickened intima by fibrous tissue in a
patient department for treatment of a mass-like dilated neck
varicose vein, the vascular wall thickness of a venous aneur-
vein as a procedure concomitant with thyroid cancer surgery.
ysm is relatively homogenous with thickened media and lo-
We could detect the gross engorgement of the neck mass in
calized thickened intima (Fig. 3B). The patient was dis-
the supine position or by using the Valsalva maneuver when
charged without any complications.
the patient was in an erect position (Fig. 1). Preoperative
contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CT) of the neck
showed a venous dilatation, similar to a cystic mass (size:
2.5×2.2 cm) communicating with the left external jugular
vein (Fig. 2).
Acquired venous aneurysm in the neck area is a very rare
disease and requires a differential diagnosis including en-
After thyroidectomy under general endotracheal anesthesia,
larged cervical lymph node, tumor of the adjacent organs, lar-
an additional separate skin incision (length: approximately 2.5
yngocele, and various cystic formations. According to the in-
cm) along the neck dermatome was made because of the dis-
cidence rate, the internal jugular vein is a more frequent site
tance from the collar incision (approximately 5 cm). We ac-
of aneurysm development than the external vein, but the ante-
complished aneurysmectomy by the division of both ends of
rior jugular vein is the least frequent site [1]. Saccular aneur-
the external jugular vein and a tributary of the aneurysm in
ysm is less common than fusiform aneurysm [2].
the subcutaneous layer (Fig. 3A). No intraluminal thrombus
Fusiform venous dilatation is frequently diagnosed in chil-
was observed upon a gross inspection of the specimen.
dren with a congenital etiology and right-side predominance
Departments of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery and Pathology, Kosin University Gospel Hospital, Kosin University College of Medicine
Received: October 7, 2013, Revised: November 19, 2013, Accepted: November 21, 2013
Corresponding author: Sung Ho Cho, Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Kosin University Gospel Hospital, Kosin University
College of Medicine, 262 Gamcheon-ro, Seo-gu, Busan 602-702, Korea
(Tel) 82-51-990-6466 (Fax) 82-51-990-3066 (E-mail) [email protected]
C The Korean Society for Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery. 2014. All right reserved.
CC This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the
original work is properly cited.
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Hae Young Lee, et al
but appears in adults as an acquired form with left-side predominance; the suggested mechanism in adults is the patient’s
hypertensive aorta compressing the left innominate vein, resulting in venous dilatation [3].
In addition, the etiology of an acquired venous aneurysm
can involve tumors, inflammation, trauma, or spontaneous development [4]. Of the aneurysms resulting from iatrogenic
causes, pseudoaneurysm at the internal jugular vein appears
most frequently; a case at the external jugular vein has also
been reported [5]. However, the patient in the present case
had no previous neck procedures or trauma history. Therefore, the etiology of this case is considered to be spontaneous
Fig. 1. A 48-year-old female patient complained of cosmetic concerns regarding a compressible lump in the left supraclavicular
fossa, which was diagnosed as a venous aneurysm.
Clinically, although painful swelling is associated with intraluminal thrombus, saccular aneurysm appears with painless
swelling. The Valsalva maneuver, performed by moderately
forceful attempted exhalation against a closed airway, usually
Fig. 2. Enhanced computed tomography showed a cystic mass (arrow)
communicating with the left external
jugular vein. (A) Coronal; (B) axial
Fig. 3. (A) Resection of the external jugular venous aneurysm with proximal and distal tributaries. (B) The microscopic findings show that
the vascular wall thickness of the venous aneurysm is relatively homogenous with thickened media and localized thickened intima (H&E,
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Saccular Aneurysm of the External Jugular Vein
performed by closing one’s mouth and pinching one’s nose
shut while pressing out as if blowing up a balloon, can induce venous engorgement characteristically. However, by
manual compression of an engorged neck mass in the case of
No potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was
the external jugular vein, the Valsalva maneuver cannot make
the swelling prominent [4].
Ultrasonography has been the most useful diagnostic modality for this disease [6]. Because the patient had already
undergone contrast-enhanced CT imaging for thyroid cancer,
ultrasonography was not required in this case.
Cosmetic concerns, painful swelling due to intraluminal
thrombosis, or phlebitis of the jugular vein are all motives for
surgical treatment. Otherwise, reassurance and regular follow-up can be a substitute for prompt treatment of an asymptomatic venous aneurysm. Although embolic complications
have been reported at a lower incidence rate in jugular venous aneurysms, active treatment cannot be neglected. A recent report documented a pulmonary thromboembolism derived from an external jugular venous aneurysm [7], and
large-scale studies are needed to overcome the limitations of
rare case reports [8]. Thus, all cases of venous aneurysm
should be reported for further study.
Surgical resection can minimize the risk of pulmonary
thromboembolism as well as aneurismal rupture induced by
growth and can confirm the histopathological diagnosis.
Aneurismal resection is accomplished by excision with liga-
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