Caroticoclinoid Bar: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Its Prevalence and Potential Implications in Cerebrovascular and Skull Base Surgery

World Neurosurg. (2019) 124:267-276

The presence of a caroticoclinoid bar (CCB) has been implicated in both transcranial and endonasal surgery. Its morphology reflects differences in the microsurgical anatomy of the parasellar area and its manipulation during anterior or middle clinoidectomy can result in internal carotid artery injury. Although adjustment of the surgical technique according to the CCB anatomic variants is required for safe surgical access to the paraclinoid region, a review indicated the lack of a systematic assortment of reported data regarding the prevalence of the CCB. Thus, our objective was to systematically review and document the prevalence of the CCB and its anatomic variations.

METHODS: Three databases were systematically reviewed using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses statement through August 2018 to identify relevant studies.

RESULTS: A total of 27 reports (7521 subjects or specimens, 14,449 sides) were included in the present meta-analysis. The overall pooled prevalence of the CCB was 32.6% (95% confidence interval [CI], 26.6%e38.8%) when measured in the subjects or specimens and 23.6% (95% CI, 19.7%e27.6%) when measured in each side. The overall prevalence of the CCB reported from imaging studies was 23.1% (95% CI, 8.9%e41.4%) for the subjects/specimens and 18.7% (95% CI, 12.6%e25.7%) for each side. The presence of the CCB was slightly more prevalent (P [ 0.050) on the right side.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results showed a considerable prevalence of the CCB, with lower prevalence rates found among imaging studies. Although meticulous preoperative investigation is mandatory, surgeons treating patients with parasellar pathologic entities should always be vigilant regarding the CCB.