Lateral supracerebellar transtentorial approach for petroclival meningiomas: operative technique and outcome

J Neurosurg 115:49–54, 2011. DOI: 10.3171/2011.2.JNS101759

The retrosigmoid intradural suprameatal approach with the patient in a semisitting position is an effective alternative to transpetrosal approaches for the treatment of petroclival meningiomas. The authors have made a simple modification to the retrosigmoid intradural suprameatal approach by using the lateral oblique position and preferentially dividing the tentorium with limited drilling of the suprameatal bone, which is termed the “lateral su- pracerebellar transtentorial approach.”

Methods. Twenty-six patients with petroclival meningiomas surgically treated via the lateral supracerebellar transtentorial approach were analyzed. All tumors had most of their bulk in the posterior fossa with some degree of extension into the middle fossa and/or Meckel cave. The patient is placed in the lateral oblique position, and a standard retrosigmoid craniotomy is performed. The tentorium medial to the trigeminal nerve is incised toward the free edge, which improves exposure to the petroclival region without extensive resection of the suprameatal petrous bone.

Results. Gross-total resection was achieved in 11 patients (42%). Ten patients (38%) underwent subtotal resection, and 5 patients (19%) underwent partial resection. There was no incidence of operative death, and the postoperative permanent morbidity rate was 15%. All patients except one did well postoperatively and were independent at the time of their last follow-up examinations.

Conclusions. The lateral supracerebellar transtentorial approach provides the simplest and safest access to the petroclival region. It offers an advantageous approach to petroclival meningiomas exclusively located in the posterior fossa with minimal extension into the Meckel cave and middle fossa.