Approaches to the Middle Cerebellar Peduncle for Resection of Pontine Cavernomas:

Operative Neurosurgery 26:468, 2024

INDICATIONS: CORRIDOR AND LIMITS OF EXPOSURE: The expanded retrosigmoid approach with splitting of the horizontal cerebellar fissure provides a more direct and shorter route for central and dorsolateral pontine lesions while minimizing retraction of tracts, nuclei, and cerebellum.1-4

ANATOMIC ESSENTIALS: NEED FOR PREOPERATIVE PLANNING AND ASSESSMENT: The middle cerebellar peduncle is partially covered by the petrosal surface of the cerebellum. The horizontal cerebellar fissure (petrosal fissure) divides the petrosal surface of the cerebellar hemisphere into superior and inferior parts. Splitting the petrosal fissure separates the superior and inferior petrosal surfaces and exposes the posterolateral middle cerebellar peduncle (posterior and lateral to the root entry zone of CN5).1-4

ESSENTIALS STEPS OF THE PROCEDURE: Expanded retrosigmoid craniotomy is performed, including unroofing of the sigmoid sinus; petrosal fissure is split to expose the posterolateral middle cerebellar peduncle; entry point for resection of the cavernoma is identified; nims stimulator stimulator is used to confirm the absence of tracts and nuclei; myelotomy is performed; and cavernoma and its draining vein (but not the developmental venous anomaly) are removed using a combination of traction and countertraction against gliotic plane.

PITFALLS/AVOIDANCE OF COMPLICATIONS: Wide splitting of the horizontal cerebellar fissure minimizes retraction or resection of the cerebellum and offers the best angle of attack. Knowledge of brainstem anatomy and use of intraoperative navigation are critical to avoid complications.

VARIANTS AND INDICATIONS FOR THEIR USE: Far lateral through the middle cerebellar peduncle is a variant that can be used to resect pontine cavernomas if a caudocranial trajectory is preferred.