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EC- IC bypass

EC-IC bypass, which stands for Extracranial-Intracranial bypass, is a surgical procedure that involves rerouting blood flow from vessels outside the skull (extracranial) to vessels inside the skull (intracranial). This procedure is performed to improve blood supply to certain regions of the brain when there is reduced blood flow or compromised circulation.

The main purpose of an EC-IC bypass is to augment blood flow to the brain, typically in cases where there is a blockage or stenosis (narrowing) of the major arteries supplying the brain. The bypass creates an alternative route for blood to reach the brain, bypassing the narrowed or blocked vessels.

Why and when EC- IC bypass is recommended?

Extracranial-Intracranial (EC-IC) bypass surgery is recommended in specific situations where there is reduced blood flow to the brain, often due to significant stenosis (narrowing) or occlusion of major cerebral arteries. The decision to recommend EC-IC bypass is typically based on the underlying vascular condition, the severity of the blood flow impairment, and the potential benefits of improving cerebral perfusion. Here are common reasons and situations when EC-IC bypass may be recommended:

Atherosclerotic Disease:

Why: Atherosclerosis is a condition characterized by the buildup of fatty deposits (plaque) in the arteries, leading to narrowing and reduced blood flow. When major arteries supplying the brain, such as the internal carotid artery, are affected, EC-IC bypass may be considered to restore blood flow.

Moyamoya Disease:

Why: Moyamoya disease is a rare vascular disorder that involves the progressive narrowing of the internal carotid arteries, leading to the formation of small collateral vessels resembling a "puff of smoke." EC-IC bypass is a common treatment to create an alternative route for blood flow.

How is EC- IC bypass different from the conventional treatment?

EC-IC Bypass Surgery:

EC-IC bypass is performed to augment blood flow to the brain when there is significant stenosis (narrowing) or occlusion of major cerebral arteries. The surgical procedure involves creating a new pathway for blood to reach the brain by connecting an extracranial artery (often a branch of the external carotid artery) to an intracranial artery beyond the site of stenosis or occlusion.

Conditions Treated:

Recommended for conditions such as atherosclerotic disease affecting major arteries, moyamoya disease, and cases where there is inadequate blood flow to specific regions of the brain. • Surgical Complexity: EC-IC bypass is a surgical procedure that involves microvascular techniques to connect blood vessels, requiring a skilled vascular surgeon. It may involve different types of bypass procedures, including STA-MCA (using the superficial temporal artery) or EDAS (encephaloduroarteriosynangiosis).

Timing and Recovery:

EC-IC bypass is typically performed as an elective procedure after careful evaluation. Recovery involves postoperative monitoring, pain management, and rehabilitation to ensure the success of the graft and improvement in blood flow. Conventional Treatments:

Medical Management:

Conventional medical treatments aim to manage conditions causing reduced blood flow, such as atherosclerosis. This may include antiplatelet medications, anticoagulants, blood pressure management, and cholesterol-lowering medications.

Endovascular Interventions:

In some cases, endovascular procedures like angioplasty or stenting may be considered to address arterial stenosis. Angioplasty involves using a balloon to widen narrowed arteries, and stenting may be used to keep the artery open. These procedures are less invasive than open surgery.

How is life EC- IC bypass?

Life after Extracranial-Intracranial (EC-IC) bypass surgery can vary from person to person, and the outcome is influenced by factors such as the underlying condition, the success of the surgery, and the overall health of the individual

Functional Improvement:

Over time, there may be improvements in motor function, sensation, and overall neurological function, particularly if the surgery is successful in restoring blood flow to affected areas of the brain.

Adaptation to Changes:

Depending on the extent of the surgery and the underlying condition, individuals may need to adapt to potential changes in lifestyle and daily activities. • Follow-Up Care: Regular follow-up appointments are essential to monitor the long-term success of the bypass, assess neurological function, and address any concerns.

Medication Management:

Some individuals may need ongoing medication management to address underlying conditions contributing to reduced blood flow, such as hypertension or hyperlipidemia.

Lifestyle Modifications:

Adopting and maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, and avoidance of smoking, may contribute to long-term vascular health.


At Aster Hospitals we provide the highest quality of care and a transformative experience for all your healthcare needs. With our network of multi-speciality hospitals, specialised doctors, and world-class technology, we bring global standards of medical care to our patients.

What types of bypass procedures are there?

Common types include the STA-MCA (using the superficial temporal artery) and EDAS (encephaloduroarteriosynangiosis) procedures. These involve using different donor vessels to create the bypass.

Can EC-IC bypass prevent strokes?

Yes, EC-IC bypass is performed with the goal of preventing strokes in individuals with conditions leading to reduced blood flow to the brain.

How long does EC-IC bypass surgery take?

The duration of the surgery varies, but it typically takes several hours. The complexity of the procedure and individual patient factors can influence the surgical time.


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