Simplified anterior transpetrosal approach without superior petrosal sinus and tentorial incision for lesions centered in Meckel’s cave

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:1833–1839

The anterior transpetrosal approach (ATPA) is an effective method to reach lesions in the petroclival region. This approach involves many steps, including superior petrosal sinus (SPS) ligation and tentorial cutting. It is sometimes unnecessary to perform all procedures in the ATPA for certain lesions, especially those centered in the Meckel’s cave. Here, we present a simplified anterior transpetrosal approach (SATPA) without superior petrosal sinus and tentorial incision for lesions centered in the Meckel’s cave as a modified ATPA.

Methods This study included 13 patients treated with SATPA. The initial steps of SATPA are similar to ATPA, excluding a middle cranial fossa dural incision, SPS dissection, or tentorial incision. Histological examination was performed to understand the membrane structure of the trigeminal nerve, which runs through the Meckel’s cave.

Results Pathology revealed trigeminal schwannoma (n=11), extraventricular central neurocytoma (n=1), and a metastatic tumor (n=1). The average tumor size was 2.4 cm. The total removal rate was 76.9% (10/13). Permanent complications included trigeminal neuropathy in four cases and cerebrospinal fluid leakage in one case. Histological examination revealed the trigeminal nerve traverses the subarachnoid space from the posterior fossa subdural space to the Meckel’s cave and is covered with the epineurium in the inner reticular layer.

Conclusions We used SATPA for lesions located in the Meckel’s cave identified using histological examination. This approach may be considered for small- to medium-sized lesions centered in the Meckel space.