Endoscopic Endonasal Transpterygoid Approach

Operative Neurosurgery 25:E272, 2023

INDICATIONS: CORRIDOR AND LIMITS OF EXPOSURE: The endoscopic endonasal transpterygoid approach (EETPA) provides direct access to the petrous apex, lateral clivus, inferior cavernous sinus compartment, jugular foramen, and infratemporal fossa. In the coronal plane, it provides exposure far beyond a traditional sphenoidotomy.

ANATOMIC ESSENTIALS: NEED FOR PREOPERATIVE PLANNING AND ASSESSMENT: The pterygoid process of the sphenoid bone forms the junction between the body and greater sphenoid wing before bifurcating because it descends into medial and lateral plates. The key to this exposure lies in the region’s bony foramina: the palatovaginal canal, vidian canal, and foramen rotundum.

ESSENTIALS STEPS OF THE PROCEDURE: After performing a maxillary antrostomy, stepwise exposure of these foramina leads to the pterygopalatine fossa. The sphenopalatine artery is cauterized as it becomes the posterior septal artery at the sphenopalatine foramen, and the maxillary sinus’ posterior wall is opened to expose the pterygopalatine fossa. After mobilizing and retracting the contents of the pterygopalatine fossa, the pterygoid process is removed, improving access in the coronal plane.

PITFALLS/AVOIDANCE OF COMPLICATIONS: Vidian neurectomy causes decreased or absent lacrimation. Injury to the maxillary nerve or its branches results in facial, palatal, or odontogenic anesthesia or neuralgia. In addition, the EEPTA precludes the ability to raise an ipsilateral nasal septal flap, making it crucial to plan reconstruction preoperatively.

VARIANTS AND INDICATIONS FOR THEIR USE: There are 5 variants of the EEPTA: extended pterygopalatine fossa, lateral recess of the sphenoid sinus, petrous apex, infratemporal fossa and petrous carotid artery, and middle and posterior skull base. The patient consented to the procedure.