Anterior Petrosectomy With Intertentorial Approach

Operative Neurosurgery 26:301–308, 2024

The extradural anterior petrosal approach (EAPA) can present a challenge because it deals with critical structures in a narrow, confined corridor. It is associated with several potential approach-related risks including temporal lobe and venous injuries. Tentorial peeling has the potential to largely eliminate these risks during the approach and may offer more options for tailoring the dural opening to the anatomic region that one wants to expose.

METHODS: Anatomic dissections of five adult injected non–formalin-fixed cadaveric heads were performed. Anterior petrosectomy with intertentorial approach (APIA) through a tentorial peeling was completed. Step-by-step documentation of the cadaveric dissections and diagrammatic representations are presented along with an illustrative case.

RESULTS: Tentorial peeling separates the tentorium into a temporal tentorial leaf and posterior fossa tentorial leaf, adding a fourth dural layer to the three classic ones described during a standard EAPA. This opens out the intertentorial space and offers more options for tailoring the dural incisions specific to the pathology being treated. This represents a unique possibility to address brainstem or skull base pathology along the mid- and upper clivus with the ability to keep the entire temporal lobe and basal temporal veins covered by the temporal tentorial leaf. The APIA was successfully used for the resection of a large clival chordoma in the illustrative case.

CONCLUSION: APIA is an interesting modification to the classic EAPA to reduce the approach-related morbidity. The risk reduction achieved is by eliminating the exposure of the temporal lobe while maintaining the excellent access to the petroclival region. It also provides several options to tailor the durotomies based on the localization of the lesion.