The auricula as a new surgical landmark for the transverse-sigmoid-sinus-transition

Brain and Spine 4 (2024) 102757

The transverse-sigmoid-sinus-transition constitutes an important landmark during a retrosigmoid craniotomy. Due to anatomical variations, the location is highly variable. Landmarks for identification of the anterior border of the sigmoid sinus have been described extensively, such as the mastoid notch, digastric point, external auditory meatus and crux of the helix curvature. There is a paucity of landmarks for the identification of the posterior border, however.

Research question: We examined the relationship between the transverse-sigmoid-sinus-transition and the mostposterior-part-of-the-auricula.

Material and methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of one-hundred patients (38 males and 62 females) who underwent cerebral MRI examinations at Antwerp University Hospital (Belgium). Using Brainlab®, the transverse-sigmoid-sinus-transition and most-posterior-part-of-the-auricula coordinates were calculated and compared. Left and right sides were compared in both the anteroposterior and craniocaudal axis.

Results: Mean age was 56.4 ± 16.1 years. Mean MPPA-TSST-distance in the anteroposterior direction was − 1.93 mm (right) and − 1.96 mm (left). Mean MPPA-TSST-distance in the craniocaudal direction was − 5.16 mm (right) and − 5.04 mm (left).

Discussion and conclusion: The transverse-sigmoid-sinus-transition seems to be located more anterior and caudal with respect to the most-posterior-part-of-the-auricula, meaning that it can be considered a save landmark. A correction of five mm needs to be applied in order to identify the inferior border of the transverse sinus. Left/ right and gender had no significant influence. The most-posterior-part-of-the-auricula can be considered a fast and practical anatomical landmark for identification of the transverse-sigmoid-sinus-transition, without affecting operative fluency, especially during an emergency craniotomy.