Interdural course of the ophthalmic artery in the optic canal

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OBJECTIVE

In the current neurosurgical and anatomical literature, the intracanalicular segment of the ophthalmic artery (OphA) is usually described to be within the optic nerve dural sheath (ONDS), implying direct contact between the nerve and the artery inside the optic canal. In the present study, the authors sought to clarify the exact relationship between the OphA and ONDS.

METHODS

Ten cadaveric heads were subjected to endoscopic endonasal and transcranial exposures of the OphA in the optic canal (5 for each approach). The relationship between the OphA and ONDS was assessed. Histological examination of one specimen of the optic nerve and the accompanying OphA was also performed to confirm the relationship with the ONDS.

RESULTS

In all specimens, the OphA coursed between the two layers of the dura (endosteal and meningeal) and was not in direct contact with the optic nerve, except for the first few millimeters of the proximal optic canal before it pierced the ONDS. Upon reaching the orbit, the two layers of the dura separated and allowed the OphA to literally float within the orbital fat. The meningeal dura continued as the ONDS, whereas the endosteal dura became the periorbita.

CONCLUSIONS

This study clarifies the interdural course of the OphA within the optic canal. This anatomical nuance has important neurosurgical implications regarding safe exposure and manipulation of the OphA.

ABBREVIATIONS DDR = distal dural ring; DPP = dural piercing point of the OphA; ICA = internal carotid artery; ONDS = optic nerve dural sheath; OphA = ophthalmic artery.
Article Information

Contributor Notes

Correspondence Mark C. Preul: Barrow Neurological Institute, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, c/o Neuroscience Publications, Phoenix, AZ. neuropub@barrowneuro.org.INCLUDE WHEN CITING Published online January 4, 2019; DOI: 10.3171/2018.6.JNS18856.Disclosures The authors report no conflict of interest concerning the materials or methods used in this study or the findings specified in this paper.
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