Tailoring the surgical corridor to the basilar apex in the pretemporal transcavernous approach

Acta Neurochirurgica (2020) 162:2731–2741

The pretemporal transcavernous approach (PTA) provides optimal exposure and access to the basilar artery (BA); however, the PTA can be invasive when vital neurovascular structures are mobilized. The goal of this study was to evaluate mobilization strategies to tailor approaches to the BA.

Methods After an orbitozygomatic craniotomy, 10 sides of 5 cadaveric heads were used to assess the surgical access to the BA via the opticocarotid triangle (OCT), carotid-oculomotor triangle (COT), and oculomotor-tentorial triangle (OTT). Measurements were obtained, and morphometric analyses were performed for natural neurovascular positions and after each stepwise expansion maneuver. An imaginary line connecting the midpoints of the limbus sphenoidale and dorsum sellae was used as a reference to normalize the measurements of BA exposure and to facilitate the clinical applicability of this technique.

Results In the OCT, the exposed BA segment ranged from − 1 ± 3.9 to + 6 ± 2.0 mm in length in its natural position. In the COT, the accessible BA segment ranged from − 4 ± 2.3 to − 2 ± 3.0mmin length in its natural position. Via the OTT, the accessible BA segment ranged from − 7 ± 2.6 to − 5 ± 2.8 mm in length in its natural position. In the OCT, COT, and OTT, a posterior clinoidectomy extended the exposure down to − 6 ± 2.7, − 8 ± 2.5, and − 9 ± 2.9 mm, respectively.

Conclusions This study quantitatively evaluated the need for the expansion maneuvers in the PTA to reach BA aneurysms according to the patient’s anatomical characteristics.