The midline suboccipital subtonsillar approach to the cerebellomedullary cistern

Acta Neurochir (2017) 159:1613–1617

Lesions lateral to the lower brainstem in an area extending from the foraminae of Luschka to the foramen magnum are rare and include different pathologies. There is no consensus on an ideal surgical approach.

Method: To gain access to this area, we use the midline suboccipital subtonsillar approach (STA). This midline approach with unilateral retraction of the cerebellar tonsil enables entry into the cerebellomedullary cistern.

Conclusions: The STA offers excellent access with a panoramic view of the cerebellomedullary cistern and its structures and therefore can be useful for a number of different pathologies in the lower petroclival area.