Simplified anterior transpetrosal approach without superior petrosal sinus and tentorial incision for lesions centered in Meckel’s cave

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:1833–1839

The anterior transpetrosal approach (ATPA) is an effective method to reach lesions in the petroclival region. This approach involves many steps, including superior petrosal sinus (SPS) ligation and tentorial cutting. It is sometimes unnecessary to perform all procedures in the ATPA for certain lesions, especially those centered in the Meckel’s cave. Here, we present a simplified anterior transpetrosal approach (SATPA) without superior petrosal sinus and tentorial incision for lesions centered in the Meckel’s cave as a modified ATPA.

Methods This study included 13 patients treated with SATPA. The initial steps of SATPA are similar to ATPA, excluding a middle cranial fossa dural incision, SPS dissection, or tentorial incision. Histological examination was performed to understand the membrane structure of the trigeminal nerve, which runs through the Meckel’s cave.

Results Pathology revealed trigeminal schwannoma (n=11), extraventricular central neurocytoma (n=1), and a metastatic tumor (n=1). The average tumor size was 2.4 cm. The total removal rate was 76.9% (10/13). Permanent complications included trigeminal neuropathy in four cases and cerebrospinal fluid leakage in one case. Histological examination revealed the trigeminal nerve traverses the subarachnoid space from the posterior fossa subdural space to the Meckel’s cave and is covered with the epineurium in the inner reticular layer.

Conclusions We used SATPA for lesions located in the Meckel’s cave identified using histological examination. This approach may be considered for small- to medium-sized lesions centered in the Meckel space.

Management strategies in clival and craniovertebral junction chordomas: a 29-year experience

J Neurosurg 138:1640–1652, 2023

Chordomas represent one of the most challenging subsets of skull base and craniovertebral junction (CVJ) tumors to treat. Despite extensive resection followed by proton-beam radiation therapy, the recurrence rate remains high, highlighting the importance of developing efficient treatment strategies. In this study, the authors present their experience in treating clival and CVJ chordomas over a 29-year period.

METHODS The authors conducted a retrospective study of clival and CVJ chordomas that were surgically treated at their institution from 1991 to 2020. This study focuses on three aspects of the management of these tumors: the factors influencing the extent of resection (EOR), the predictors of survival, and the outcomes of the endoscopic endonasal approaches (EEAs) compared with open approaches (OAs).

RESULTS A total of 265 surgical procedures were performed in 210 patients, including 123 OAs (46.4%) and 142 EEAs (53.6%). Tumors that had an intradural extension (p = 0.03), brainstem contact (p = 0.005), cavernous sinus extension (p = 0.004), major artery encasement (p = 0.01), petrous apex extension (p = 0.003), or high volume (p = 0.0003) were significantly associated with a lower EOR. The 5-year progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) rates were 52.1% and 75.1%, respectively. Gross-total resection and Ki-67 labeling index < 6% were considered to be independent prognostic factors of longer PFS (p = 0.0005 and p = 0.003, respectively) and OS (p = 0.02 and p = 0.03, respectively). Postoperative radiation therapy correlated independently with a longer PFS (p = 0.006). Previous surgical treatment was associated with a lower EOR (p = 0.01) and a higher rate of CSF leakage after EEAs (p = 0.02) but did not have significantly lower PFS and OS compared with primary surgery. Previously radiation therapy correlated with a worse outcome, with lower PFS and OS (p = 0.001 and p = 0.007, respectively). EEAs were more frequently used in patients with upper and middle clival tumors (p = 0.002 and p < 0.0001, respectively), had a better rate of EOR (p = 0.003), and had a lower risk of de novo neurological deficit (p < 0.0001) compared with OAs. The overall rate of postoperative CSF leakage after EEAs was 14.8%.

CONCLUSIONS This large study showed that gross-total resection should be attempted in a multidisciplinary skull base center before providing radiation therapy. EEAs should be considered as the gold-standard approach for upper/middle clival lesions based on the satisfactory surgical outcome, but OAs remain important tools for large complex chordomas.

Surgical management of large cerebellopontine angle meningiomas: long-term results of a less aggressive resection strategy

J Neurosurg 138:1630–1639, 2023

Cerebellopontine angle (CPA) meningiomas present many surgical challenges depending on their volume, site of dural attachment, and connection to surrounding neurovascular structures. Assuming that systematic radical resection of large CPA meningiomas carries a high risk of permanent morbidity, the authors adopted an alternative strategy of optimal resection followed by radiosurgery or careful observation of the residual tumor and assessed the efficiency and safety of this approach to meningioma treatment management.

METHODS This single-center retrospective cohort study included 50 consecutive patients who underwent surgery for meningioma between January 2003 and February 2020.

RESULTS The most common main dural attachments of the meningiomas were posterior (42%) and superior (26%) to the internal auditory meatus. The suboccipital retrosigmoid route was the most routinely used (92%). At the last follow-up examination, 93% of the patients with normal preoperative facial nerve (FN) function retained good House-Brackmann (HB) grades of I and II, whereas 3 patients (7%) displayed intermediate HB grade III FN function. Hearing preservation was achieved in 86% of the patients who presented with preoperative serviceable hearing, and recovery after surgery was achieved in 19% of the patients experiencing preoperative hearing loss. In order to preserve all cranial nerve function, gross-total resection was obtained in 26% of patients. Of the 35 patients who had undergone subtotal resection, 20 (57%) had been allocated into a wait-and-rescan treatment approach and 15 (43%) underwent upfront Gamma Knife surgery (GKS). The mean postoperative tumor volume was 1.20 cm 3 in the upfront GKS group and 0.73 cm 3 in the waitand-rescan group (p = 0.08). Tumor control was achieved in 87% and 55% of cases (p < 0.001), with a mean follow-up of 85 and 69 months in the GKS and wait-and-rescan groups, respectively. The 1-, 5-, and 7-year tumor progression-free survival rates were 100%, 100%, and 89% in the GKS group and 95%, 59%, and 47% in the wait-and-rescan group, respectively (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS Optimal nonradical resection of large CPA meningiomas provides favorable long-term tumor control and functional preservation. Adjuvant GKS does not carry additional morbidity and appears to be an efficient adjuvant treatment.

Presigmoid approach preserving the superior petrosal sinus in a pontine cavernous malformation associated to abnormal venous drainage of the brainstem

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:1233–1240

The presigmoid approach classically includes the ligature and section of the superior petrosal sinus to get a wider visibility window to the antero-lateral brainstem surface. In some cases, the separation of this venous structure should not be performed.

Method We present our experience getting safely to a pontine cavernous malformation through a conventional mastoidectomy presigmoid approach preserving an ingurgitated superior petrosal sinus because the association with an abnormal venous drainage of the brainstem.

Conclusions When sectioning the superior petrosal sinus in classical presigmoid approaches is contraindicated, its preservation could also offer good surgical corridors to get to small-medium anterior and lateral brainstem cavernous malformations.

Clival Chordomas in the Endoscopic Endonasal Era: Comparison With Management With Open Skull Base Approaches

Neurosurgery 92:756–761, 2023

The most significant paradigm shift in surgical management of skull base chordomas has been the adoption of the endoscopic endonasal approach, but the impact on patient outcomes compared with open skull base approaches remains unclear.

OBJECTIVE: To compare a large series of patients treated by a single surgeon using primarily endoscopic endonasal approaches with previously published outcomes by the same surgeon using open skull base approaches.

METHODS: Between 2006 and 2020, 68 patients with skull base chordoma underwent resection using primarily endoscopic endonasal approaches. Outcomes and complications were compared with previously published results of resection of chordomas from 1991 to 2005 using open skull base approaches.

RESULTS: Compared with the prior cohort, the current principally endoscopic cohort demonstrated similar rates of OS (P = .86) and progression-free survival (P = .56), but patients undergoing first-time resection had significantly higher rates of radical resection (82.9% compared with 64.3%, P = .05) and required fewer staged surgeries (9.8% compared with 33.3%, P = .01).

CONCLUSION: There was no difference in survival rates for patients treated in the current era, primarily using endoscopic endonasal techniques, compared with previously published results using open skull-base approaches by the same surgeon. Although use of endoscopic endonasal approach resulted in higher rates of radical resection, patients undergoing first-time resection and fewer staged surgeries were required.

Clival Chordomas in the Endoscopic Endonasal Era: Clinical Management, Outcomes, and Complications

Neurosurgery 92:876–883, 2023

Surgical management of skull base chordomas has changed significantly in the past 2 decades, most notably with use of the endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA), although high quality outcome data using these modern approaches remain scarce.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate outcomes in a large series of patients treated by a single surgeon, using primarily the EEA.

METHODS: Between 2006 and 2020, 68 patients with skull base chordoma underwent resection using mostly the EEA. Complications, outcomes, and potential contributing factors were evaluated using Kaplan-Meier survival analysis and univariable and multivariable Cox proportional hazards models.

RESULTS: Overall 5-year survival was 76.3% (95%CI 61.5%-86.0%), and 5-year progressionfree survival was 55.9%(95% CI 40.0%-69.0%). Inmultivariable analysis, radical resection was associated with significant reduction in risk of death (hazard ratio [HR] 0.04, 95% CI 0.005- 0.33, P = .003) and disease progression (HR 0.05, 95% CI 0.01-0.18, P < .001). Better preoperative function status reduced risk of death (HR 0.42 per 10-point increase in Karnofsky Performance Scale, 95% CI 0.28-0.63, P < .001) and progression (HR 0.60 per 10-point increase in Karnofsky Performance Scale, 95% CI 0.45-0.78, P < .001). Localization at the clivus reduced risk of death (HR 0.02, 95% CI 0.002-0.15, P < .001) and progression (HR 0.24, 95% CI 0.09-0.68, P = .007) compared with tumors at the craniovertebral junction.

CONCLUSION: In multivariable analysis, overall survival and progression-free survival of chordoma resection was most positively affected by radical resection, better preoperative functional status, and tumor location at the clivus rather than craniovertebral junction.

Indication for a skull base approach in microvascular decompression for hemifacial spasm

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:3235–3246

A thorough observation of the root exit zone (REZ) and secure transposition of the offending arteries is crucial for a successful microvascular decompression (MVD) for hemifacial spasm (HFS). Decompression procedures are not always feasible in a narrow operative field through a retrosigmoid approach. In such instances, extending the craniectomy laterally is useful in accomplishing the procedure safely. This study aims to introduce the benefits of a skull base approach in MVD for HFS.

Methods The skull base approach was performed in twenty-eight patients among 335 consecutive MVDs for HFS. The site of the neurovascular compression (NVC), the size of the flocculus, and the location of the sigmoid sinus are measured factors in the imaging studies. The indication for a skull base approach is evaluated and verified retrospectively in comparison with the conventional retrosigmoid approach. Operative outcomes and long-term results were analyzed retrospectively.

Results The extended retrosigmoid approach was used for 27 patients and the retrolabyrinthine presigmoid approach was used in one patient. The measurement value including the site of NVC, the size of the flocculus, and the location of the sigmoid sinus represents well the indication of the skull base approach, which is significantly different from the conventional retrosigmoid approach. The skull base approach is useful for patients with medially located NVC, a large flocculus, or repeat MVD cases. The long-term result demonstrated favorable outcomes in patients with the skull base approach applied. Conclusions Preoperative evaluation for lateral expansion of the craniectomy contributes to a safe and secure MVD.

Basilar decompression via a far lateral transcondylar approach

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:2563–2572

Treatments for symptomatic or unstable basilar invagination (BI) include posterior decompression, distraction/ fusion, trans-nasal or trans-oral anterior decompression, and combined techniques, with the need for occipitocervical fusion based on the degree of craniocervical instability. Variations of the far lateral transcondylar approach are described in limited case series for BI, but have not been widely applied.

Methods A single-institution, retrospective review of consecutive patients undergoing a far lateral transcondylar approach for odontoidectomy (± resection of the inferior clivus) followed by occipitocervical fusion over a 6-year period (1/1/2016 to 12/31/2021) is performed. Detailed technical notes are combined with images from cadaveric dissections and patient surgeries to illustrate our technique using a lateral retroauricular incision.

Results Nine patients were identified (3 males, 6 females; mean age 40.2 ± 19.6 years). All patients had congenital or acquired BI causing neurologic deficits. There were no major neurologic or wound-healing complications. 9/9 patients (100%) experienced improvement in preoperative symptoms.

Conclusions The far lateral transcondylar approach provides a direct corridor for ventral brainstem decompression in patients with symptomatic BI. A comprehensive knowledge of craniovertebral junction anatomy is critical to the safe performance of this surgery, especially when using a lateral retroauricular incision.

Combined endoscopic endonasal transpterygoid and sublabial transmaxillary approaches for a large infratemporal fossa trigeminal schwannoma

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:2525–2531

Trigeminal schwannomas (TSs) with solitary extracranial location are rare, and surgical excision is challenging. In recent years, the endoscopic endonasal transmaxillary transpterygoid approach (EETPA) has been advocated as an effective strategy for TSs in the infratemporal fossa (ITF).

Method We describe the steps of the EETPA combined with the sublabial transmaxillary approach for the surgical excision of a giant mandibular schwannoma of the ITF. Indications, advantages, and approach-specific complications are also discussed. The main surgical steps are shown in an operative video.

Conclusion A combined EETPA and sublabial transmaxillary approach represents a safe and effective option for the surgical excision of extracranial TSs.

Surgery for clinoidal meningiomas with cavernous sinus extension: Near‑total excision and chiasmopexy

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:2511–2515

The main factors limiting the extent of resection for clinoidal meningiomas are cavernous sinus extension and vessel adventitia involvement. The proximity to the optic apparatus and the risk of radiation-induced optic neuropathy often prevents many surgeons from proposing adjuvant radiosurgery.

Method We describe a simple technical solution that is to place a fat graft between the optic apparatus and the residual tumor to maintain the distance gained at surgery and facilitates the identification of anatomic structures.

Conclusion This technique allows to deliver optimal therapeutic doses to the residue reduces the dose received by the optic nerve below 8 Gy.

Hakuba’s triangle: a cadaveric study detailing its anatomy and neurovascular contents with vascular and skull base implications

Neurosurgical Review (2022) 45:2087–2093

Hakuba’s triangle is a superior cavernous sinus triangle that allows for wide and relatively safe exposure of vascular and neoplastic lesions.

This study provides cadaveric measurements of the borders of Hakuba’s triangle and describes its neurovascular contents in order to enrich the available literature.

The anatomical borders of the Hakuba’s triangle (lateral, medial, and posterior borders) were defined based on Hakuba’s description and identified. Then the triangle was dissected to reveal its morphology and relationship with adjacent neurovascular structures in Embalmed Caucasian cadaveric specimens.

The oculomotor nerve occupied roughly one-third of the area of the triangle and the nerve was more or less parallel to its medial border. The mean lengths of the lateral border, posterior border, and medial border were 17 mm ± 0.5 mm, 12.2 mm ± 0.4 mm, and 10.6 mm ± 0.4 mm, respectively. The mean area of Hakuba’s triangle was 63.9 mm 2 ± 4.4 mm 2 .

In this study, we provided cadaveric measurements of the borders of Hakuba’s triangle along with descriptions of its neurovascular contents.

Septal rhinopharyngeal flap: a novel technique for skull base reconstruction after endoscopic endonasal clivectomies

J Neurosurg 136:1601–1606, 2022

Endoscopic endonasal reconstruction techniques have improved CSF leak rates that were initially reported after surgery for cranial base and intradural lesions. However, wide surgical defects still pose a problem, especially if located in the clival region.

The authors propose and describe a novel reconstruction technique they call a septal rhinopharyngeal flap (SRF) specifically designed to address this issue. The SRF is formed by three components of mucosa: 1) septal, 2) rhinopharyngeal roof, and 3) rhinopharyngeal posterior wall components, which allows for the coverage of the tuberculum/ sellar region, midclivus, and lower clivus, respectively. A step-by-step procedure is described and its results analyzed in cases in which it has been used. The SRF was performed in 8 patients, which included diagnoses of 4 chordomas, 2 petroclival meningiomas, 1 invasive pituitary adenoma, and 1 chondrosarcoma. The size of the flap was considered optimal in all patients (100%). Postoperative MRI revealed contrast enhancement covering the entire surface of the flap. No CSF leaks were encountered after at least 1 postoperative year.

The SRF is a novel vascularized reconstruction technique specifically indicated for wide endosanasal clivectomies focused on the middle clivus with caudal extension into the lower clivus and craniocervical junction, as well as rostral extensions into the tubercular or planum sphenoidale. This new reconstruction technique could be added to the skull base reconstruction armamentarium as a safe and optimal option.


Management of cavernous sinus meningiomas: Consensus statement on behalf of the EANS skull base section

Brain and Spine 2 (2022) 100864

The evolution of cavernous sinus meningiomas (CSMs) might be unpredictable and the efficacy of their treatments is challenging due to their indolent evolution, variations and fluctuations of symptoms, heterogeneity of classifications and lack of randomized controlled trials. Here, a dedicated task force provides a consensus statement on the overall management of CSMs. Research question: To determine the best overall management of CSMs, depending on their clinical presentation, size, and evolution as well as patient characteristics.

Material and methods: Using the PRISMA 2020 guidelines, we included literature from January 2000 to December 2020. A total of 400 abstracts and 77 titles were kept for full-paper screening.

Results: The task force formulated 8 recommendations (Level C evidence). CSMs should be managed by a highly specialized multidisciplinary team. The initial evaluation of patients includes clinical, ophthalmological, endocrinological and radiological assessment. Treatment of CSM should involve experienced skull-base neurosurgeons or neuro-radiosurgeons, radiation oncologists, radiologists, ophthalmologists, and endocrinologists.

Discussion and conclusion: Radiosurgery is preferred as first-line treatment in small, enclosed, pauci-symptomatic lesions/in elderly patients, while large CSMs not amenable to resection or WHO grade II-III are candidates for radiotherapy. Microsurgery is an option in aggressive/rapidly progressing lesions in young patients presenting with oculomotor/visual/endocrinological impairment. Whenever surgery is offered, open cranial approaches are the current standard. There is limited experience reported about endoscopic endonasal approach for CSMs and the main indication is decompression of the cavernous sinus to improve symptoms. Whenever surgery is indicated, the current trend is to offer decompression followed by radiosurgery.

The mini-combined transpetrosal approach: an anatomical study and comparison with the combined transpetrosal approach

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:1079–1093

The combined transpetrosal approach (CTPA) is a versatile technique suitable for challenging skull base pathologies. Despite the advantages provided by a wide surgical exposure, the soft tissue trauma, complex and time-consuming bony work, and cosmetic issues make it far from patient expectations. In this study, the authors describe a less invasive modification of the CTPA, the mini-combined transpetrosal approach (mini-CTPA), and perform a quantitative comparison between these two approaches.

Methods Five human specimens were used for this study. CTPA was performed on one side and mini-CTPA on the opposite side. The surgical freedom, petroclival and brainstem area of exposure, and maneuverability for 6 anatomical targets, provided by the CTPA and mini-CTPA, were calculated and statistically compared. The bony volumes corresponding to each anterior petrosectomy were also measured and compared. Three clinical cases with an operative video are also reported to illustrate the effectiveness of the approach.

Results The question-mark skin incision done along the muscle attachments permits an optimal cosmetic result. Even though the limited incision, the smaller craniotomy, and the less extensive bone drilling of mini-CTPA provide a smaller area of surgical freedom, the areas of exposure of petroclival region and brainstem were not statistically different between the two approaches. The antero-posterior maneuverability for the oculomotor foramen (OF), Meckel’s cave (MC) and the REZ of trigeminal nerve, and the supero-inferior maneuverability for OF, MC, Dorello’s canal, and REZ of CN VII are significantly reduced by the smaller opening. The bony volume of anterior petrosectomy resulted similar among the approaches.

Conclusions The mini-CTPA is an interesting alternative to the CTPA, providing comparable surgical exposure both for petroclival region and for brainstem. Although the lesser soft tissue dissection and bony opening decrease the surgical maneuverability, the mini-CTPA may reduce surgical time, potential approach-related morbidities, and improve cosmetic and functional outcomes for the patients.

Anterior transpetrosal approach: experiences in 274 cases over 33 years. Technical variations, operated patients, and approach-related complications

J Neurosurg 136:413–421, 2022

The anterior transpetrosal approach (ATPA) was initially reported in 1985. The authors’ institution has 274 case records of surgery performed with the ATPA during the period from 1984 to 2017. Although many technical advances and modifications in the ATPA have occurred over those 33 years, to the authors’ knowledge no articles to date have reported a detailed analysis of variations and complications of the ATPA. In this study, the authors analyzed their patient series to elucidate improvements over time in ATPA methodology while highlighting unresolved problems and evaluating how to avoid surgical complications.

METHODS All surgical cases (274 patients) using the ATPA at the authors’ institution during the period from 1984 to 2017 were analyzed retrospectively using charts, clinical summaries, operative records, and operative videos. Obtained parameters were patient age and sex, diagnosis, size of tumors, location of disease, operative date, neurological symptoms before and after surgery, radiographically identified brain injury, and other surgical complications. The most common diagnosis was petroclival meningioma (n = 158), followed by trigeminal schwannoma (n = 32), chordoma (n = 25), epidermoid tumor (n = 21), other tumor (n = 27), aneurysm (n = 6), and other (n = 5).

RESULTS The original ATPA was performed in 239 cases. In an additional 35 cases, a modified ATPA was performed. Zygomatic osteotomy with ATPA was a common modification that was used in 19 of the 35 cases to decrease retraction damage to the temporal lobe for high-positioned tumors. Brain injury by temporal lobe retraction without venous hemorrhage still occurred in 8 of the 19 cases (3.1%) with surgical death in 1 of these cases (0.4%) of reoperation with sacrifice of the petrosal vein. Symptomatic CSF leak was the most frequent complication noted and was observed in 35 cases (13.5%). In most of these cases the patients were cured by observation or lumbar drain, but in 6 cases (17.1%) reoperation was needed. Facial nerve damage related to surgical approach decreased from 6.2% to 3.5% after 2010; however, the incidence of CSF leaks (13.5%) has not improved.

CONCLUSIONS There have been several modifications and advancements made in the ATPA to increase tumor removal and decrease surgical complications. However, complications related to surgical approach occurred, such as venous occlusion–related brain injury and facial nerve damage at pyramid resection. CSF leak remained an unsolved problem related to the ATPA procedures. Preoperative assessment of venous variation of the middle fossa, pneumatization of the temporal bone, and intraoperative monitoring of cranial nerves are important procedures to decrease these complications.


Complications after 1002 endoscopic endonasal approach procedures at a single center: lessons learned, 2010–2018

The endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) has evolved into a mainstay of skull base surgery over the last two decades, but publications examining the intraoperative and perioperative complications of this technique remain scarce. A prior landmark series of 800 patients reported complications during the first era of EEA (1998–2007), parallel to the development of many now-routine techniques and technologies. The authors examined a single-institution series of more than 1000 consecutive EEA neurosurgical procedures performed since 2010, to elucidate the safety and risk factors associated with surgical and postoperative complications in this modern era.

After obtaining institutional review board approval, the authors retrospectively reviewed intraoperative and postoperative complications and their outcomes in patients who underwent EEA between July 2010 and June 2018 at a single institution.

The authors identified 1002 EEA operations that met the inclusion criteria. Pituitary adenoma was the most common pathology (n = 392 [39%]), followed by meningioma (n = 109 [11%]). No patients died intraoperatively. Two (0.2%) patients had an intraoperative carotid artery injury: 1 had no neurological sequelae, and 1 had permanent hemiplegia. Sixty-one (6.1%) cases of postoperative cerebrospinal fluid leak occurred, of which 45 occurred during the original surgical hospitalization. Transient postoperative sodium dysregulation was noted after 87 (8.7%) operations. Six (0.6%) patients were treated for meningitis, and 1 (0.1%) patient died of a fungal skull base infection. Three (0.3%) patients died of medical complications, thereby yielding a perioperative 90-day mortality rate of 0.4% (4 deaths). High-grade (Clavien-Dindo grade III–V) complications were identified after 103 (10%) EEA procedures, and multivariate analysis was performed to determine the associations between factors and these more serious complications. Extradural EEA was significantly associated with decreased rates of these high-grade complications (OR [95% CI] 0.323 [0.153–0.698], p = 0.0039), whereas meningioma pathology (OR [95% CI] 2.39 [1.30–4.40], p = 0.0053), expanded-approach intradural surgery (OR [95% CI] 2.54 [1.46–4.42], p = 0.0009), and chordoma pathology (OR [95% CI] 9.31 [3.87–22.4], p < 0.0001) were independently associated with significantly increased rates of high-grade complications.

The authors have reported a large 1002-operation cohort of EEA procedures and associated complications. Modern EEA surgery for skull base pathologies has an acceptable safety profile with low morbidity and mortality rates. Nevertheless, significant intraoperative and postoperative complications were correlated with complex intradural procedures and meningioma and chordoma pathologies.

Morphometric Study of the Posterior Fossa: Identification of Practical Parameters for Tailored Selection of Surgical Routes to the Petroclival Region

J Neurol Surg B Skull Base 2022;83:37–43

The petroclival region is an integral part of the skull base. It can harbor different pathologies and provides access to the petroclival junction and cerebellopontine angle. We present the results of the morphometric analysis of the posterior fossa and a prediction model to enable skull base surgeons to choose an optimal surgical corridor considering patient’s bony anatomy.

Methods Ninety patients (14 to assess interobserver reliability) with temporal bone computed tomography were selected. Exclusion criteria included patients <18 years of age, radiographic evidence of trauma, infection, or previous surgery. The images were analyzed using OsiriX MD (Bernex, Switzerland). We recorded clival length, vertical angle, and surface area, and petroclival angle, petrous apex, and translabyrinthine corridors volume.

Results The average age was 49.5 years (55%) for males. The mean clival length and surface areas were 44.2mm (standard deviation [SD]   4.1) and 8.1 cm2 (SD   1.3). The mean petrous apex and translabyrinthine corridors volumes were 2.2 cm3 (SD   0.6) and 10.1 cm3 (SD   3.7). The mean petroclival angle at the internal auditory canal (IAC) was 154.9 degrees (SD   9). The clival length correlated positively with clival surface area (rho   0.6, p <0.05), petrous apex volume (rho   0.3, p < 0.05), and translabyrinthine volume (rho   0.3, p < 0.05).

Conclusion The petroclival region is complex and with high variability of surgical significance. The use of preoperative measurements of the clival length and petroclival angle as part of surgical planning that could help the surgeon to choose an optimal surgical corridor by overcoming the anatomical variability elements.

Endoscopic endonasal versus transcranial surgery for primary resection of craniopharyngiomas based on a new QST classification system

J Neurosurg 135:1298–1309, 2021

An assessment of the transcranial approach (TCA) and the endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) for craniopharyngiomas (CPs) according to tumor types has not been reported. The aim of this study was to evaluate both surgical approaches for different types of CPs.

METHODS A retrospective review of primary resected CPs was performed. A QST classification system based on tumor origin was used to classify tumors into 3 types as follows: infrasellar/subdiaphragmatic CPs (Q-CPs), subarachnoidal CPs (S-CPs), and pars tuberalis CPs (T-CPs). Within each tumor type, patients were further arranged into two groups: those treated via the TCA and those treated via the EEA. Patient and tumor characteristics, surgical outcomes, and postoperative complications were obtained. All variables were statistically analyzed between surgical groups for each tumor type.

RESULTS A total of 315 patients were included in this series, of whom 87 were identified with Q-CPs (49 treated via TCA and 38 via EEA); 56 with S-CPs (36 treated via TCA and 20 via EEA); and 172 with T-CPs (105 treated via TCA and 67 via EEA). Patient and tumor characteristics were equivalent between both surgical groups in each tumor type. The overall gross-total resection rate (90.5% TCA vs 91.2% EEA, p = 0.85) and recurrence rate (8.9% TCA vs 6.4% EEA, p = 0.35) were similar between surgical groups. The EEA group had a greater chance of visual improvement (61.6% vs 35.8%, p = 0.01) and a decreased risk of visual deterioration (1.6% vs 11.0%, p < 0.001). Of the patients with T-CPs, postoperative hypothalamic status was better in the TCA group than in the EEA group (p = 0.016). Postoperative CSF leaks and nasal complication rates occurred more frequently in the EEA group (12.0% vs 0.5%, and 9.6% vs 0.5%; both p < 0.001). For Q-CPs, EEA was associated with an increased gross-total resection rate (97.4% vs 85.7%, p = 0.017), decreased recurrence rate (2.6% vs 12.2%, p = 0.001), and lower new hypopituitarism rate (28.9% vs 57.1%, p = 0.008). The recurrence-free survival in patients with Q-CPs was also significantly different between surgical groups (log-rank test, p = 0.037). The EEA required longer surgical time for T-CPs (p = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS CPs could be effectively treated by radical surgery with favorable results. Both TCA and EEA have their advantages and limitations when used to manage different types of tumors. Individualized surgical strategies based on tumor growth patterns are mandatory to achieve optimal outcomes.

Neurosurgical management of petrous bone lesions: classification system and selection of surgical approaches

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:2895–2907

Surgery of petrous bone lesions (PBLs) is challenging for neurosurgeons. Selection of the surgical approach is an important key for success. In this study, the authors present an anatomical classification for PBLs that has been used by our group for over the past 26 years. The objective of this study is to investigate the benefits and applicability of this classification.

Methods Between 1994 and 2019, 117 patients treated for PBLs were retrospectively reviewed. Using the V3 and arcuate eminence as reference points, the petrous bone is segmented into 3 parts: petrous apex, rhomboid, and posterior. The pathological diagnoses, selection of the operative approach, and the extent of resection (EOR) were analyzed and correlated using this classification.

Results This series included 22 facial nerve schwannomas (18.8%), 22 cholesterol granulomas (18.8%), 39 chordomas/ chondrosarcomas (33.3%), 6 trigeminal schwannomas (5.1%), 13 epidermoids/dermoids (11.1%), and 15 other pathologies (12.8%). PBLs were most often involved with the petrous apex and rhomboid areas (46.2%). The extradural subtemporal approach (ESTA) was most frequently used (57.3%). Gross total resection was achieved in 58.4%. Symptomatic improvement occurred in 92 patients (78.6%). Our results demonstrated a correlation between this classification with each type of pathology (p < .001), selection of surgical approaches (p < 0.001), and EOR (p = 0.008). Chordoma/chondrosarcoma, redo operations, and lesions located medially were less likely to have total resection. Temporary complications occurred in 8 cases (6.8%), persistent morbidity in 5 cases (4.3%), and mortality in 1 case.

Conclusion In this study, we proposed a simple classification of PBLs. Using landmarks on the superior petrosal surface, the petrous bone is divided into 3 parts, apex, rhomboid, and posterior. Our results demonstrated that chordoma/chondrosarcoma, redo operations, and lesions involving the tip of the petrous apex or far medial locations were more difficult to achieve total resection. This classification could help surgeons understand surgical anatomy framework, predict possible structures at risk, and select the most appropriate approach for each patient.

Petrous bone lesions: surgical implementation and outcomes of extradural subtemporal approach

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:2881–2894

Petrous bone lesions (PBLs) are rare with few reports in the neurosurgical literature. In this study, the authors describe our current technique of extradural subtemporal approach (ESTA). The objective of this study was to evaluate the role and efficacy of ESTA for treatment of the PBLs. To our knowledge, this is the largest reported clinical series of using an ESTA-treated PBLs in which the clinical outcomes were evaluated.

Methods Between 1994 and 2019, 67 patients with PBLs treated by ESTA were retrospectively reviewed. Extent of resection, neurological outcomes, recurrence rate, and surgical complications were evaluated and compared with previous studies. The indications, advantages, limitations, and outcomes of ESTA were analyzed according to pathology.

Results This series included 7 facial nerve schwannomas (10.4%), 16 cholesterol granulomas (23.9%), 16 chordomas (23.9%), 6 chondrosarcomas (9%), 5 trigeminal schwannomas (7.5%), 9 epidermoids/dermoids (13.4%), and 8 other pathologies (11.9%). The most common location of PBLs operated with ESTA was at the petrous apex and rhomboid areas (68.7%). Gross total resection was achieved in 35 (55.6%). Symptomatic improvement occurred in 56 patients (83.6%). Complications occurred in 7 (10.4%) of cases including one mortality. Nine patients (17%) had recurrence within the mean follow-up 71 months. Compared to previous literature, our results demonstrated comparable outcomes but with higher rates of hearing and facial nerve preservation as well as minimal morbidity. From our results, ESTA is an effective therapeutic option for lesions located at the rhomboid and petrous apex, particularly when patients presented with intact facial and hearing function.

Conclusion Our series demonstrated that ESTA provided satisfactory outcomes with excellent benefits of hearing and facial function preservation for patients with petrous bone lesions. ESTA should be considered as a safe and effective therapeutic option for selected patients with PBLs.

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