Transcerebellomedullary fissure approach to lesions of the fourth ventricle: less is more?


Acta Neurochir (2013) 155:1011–1016

The transcerebellomedullary fissure (trans-CMF) approach is safe and effective. Nevertheless, previous research documented a few differences in the use of this approach with regard to the opening portion of the fissure and roof of the ventricle. Here, we present a series of patients with fourth ventricular lesions and our experience using the trans-CMF approach.

Methods Fifty patients who underwent the trans-CMF approach were analyzed. The tela choroidea was simply incised in 32 patients: 27 unilaterally and 5 bilaterally. Both the tela and inferior medullary velum were cut in 18 patients: 16 unilaterally and 2 bilaterally. Unless the tumor extended below the C1 level, C1 was preserved intact. Brainstem mapping (BSM) and corticobulbar tract (CBT) motor-evoked potential (MEP) monitoring were used.

Results Gross total removal was achieved in 41 (82 %) cases, and sub-total removal was achieved in 9 (18 %) cases. Two deaths occurred 1–2 months postoperatively because of pulmonary complications. Four patients developed temporary mutism, all of whom underwent the bilateral trans-CMF approach (this rate is significantly higher than that of the unilateral approach, P<0.05). No permanent neurological deficit occurred.

Conclusion The trans-CMF approach provides excellent access to fourth ventricular lesions without splitting the vermis. The opening portion of the fissure and roof of the ventricle should be determined by the location, extension and size of the lesion. In most cases, the unilateral trans- CMF approach with only a tela choroidea incision is adequate; this procedure is mini-invasive and possibly prevents postoperative mutism.