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Aikaterini Patrona, Kunal S. Patel, Evan D. Bander, Alpesh Mehta, Apostolos John Tsiouris, Vijay K. Anand, and Theodore H. Schwartz


Surgery within the cavernous sinus (CS) remains a controversial topic because of the delicate and complex anatomy. The risk also varies with tumor consistency. Softer tumors such as pituitary adenomas are more likely to be surgically treated, while firm tumors such as meningiomas are often treated with radiosurgery. However, a wide range of pathologies that can involve the CS are amenable to surgery. The authors describe and analyze their results using endonasal endoscopic “medial-to-lateral” approaches for nonadenomatous, nonmeningeal tumors, in relation to the degree of invasion within the CS.


A prospectively acquired database of consecutive endoscopic approaches for tumors with verified intraoperative CS invasion was reviewed. Pituitary adenomas and meningiomas were excluded. Degree of invasion of the CS was classified using the Knosp-Steiner (KS) grading system as well as the percentage of cavernous carotid artery (CCA) encasement. Extent of resection of the entire tumor and of the CS component was assessed by independent neuroradiologists using volumetric measurements of the pre- and postoperative MRI studies. Demographic data and complications were noted.


Fifteen patients (mean age 51.1 years who received endoscopic surgery between 2007 and 2013 met the selection criteria. There were 11 malignant tumors, including chordoma, chondrosarcoma, hemangiopericytoma, lymphoma, and metastatic cancer, and 4 benign tumors, including 3 cavernous hemangiomas and 1 dermoid. All cases were discussed before treatment in a tumor board. Adjuvant treatment options included chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The mean pre- and postoperative tumor volumes were 12.74 ml and 3.86 ml. Gross-total resection (GTR; ie, resection greater than 95%) was the goal in 13 cases and was achieved in 6 patients (46%) while in addition 5 patients had a greater than 80% resection. Gross-total resection in the CS was accomplished in 55% of the tumors with KS Grades 1–2 and in 16.6% of the tumors with KS grades 3–4, respectively. Likewise, GTR was accomplished in 55% of the tumors with CCA encasement under 75% and in 14.3% of the lesions with CCA encasement over 75%, irrespective of tumor volume and underlying pathology. There were 18 preexisting cranial neuropathies involving cranial nerves III–VI, of which 9 fully resolved, 4 improved, and 3 remained unchanged; 2 of these worsened with tumor recurrence. Surgical complications included 1 transient new cranial nerve VI palsy associated with Horner's syndrome and 1 case of panhypopituitarism. There were no postoperative CSF leaks and no infections. The mean extended follow-up was 34.4 months.


Endonasal endoscopic approaches can play a role in the management of nonmeningeal, nonadenomatous tumors invading the CS, either through biopsy, debulking, or GTR. An advantage of this method is the relief of preexisting cranial neuropathies with low risk for new neurological deficit. Extent of resection within the CS varies with KS grade and degree of carotid encasement irrespective of the underlying pathology. The goals of surgery should be clearly established preoperatively in consultation with radiation and medical oncologists.

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Matei A. Banu, Alpesh Mehta, Malte Ottenhausen, Justin F. Fraser, Kunal S. Patel, Oszkar Szentirmai, Vijay K. Anand, Apostolos J. Tsiouris, and Theodore H. Schwartz


Although the endonasal endoscopic approach has been applied to remove olfactory groove meningiomas, controversy exists regarding the efficacy and safety of this approach compared with more traditional transcranial approaches. The endonasal endoscopic approach was compared with the supraorbital (eyebrow) keyhole technique, as well as a combined “above-and-below” approach, to evaluate the relative merits of each approach in different situations.


Nineteen cases were reviewed and divided according to operative technique into 3 different groups: purely endonasal (6 cases); supraorbital eyebrow (microscopic with endoscopic assistance; 7 cases); and combined endonasal endoscopic with either the bicoronal or eyebrow microscopic approach (6 cases). Resection was judged on postoperative MRI using volumetric analysis. Tumors were assessed based on the Mohr radiological classification and the presence of the lion’s mane sign.


The mean age at surgery was 61.4 years. The mean tumor volume was 19.6 cm3 in the endonasal group, 33.5 cm3 in the supraorbital group, and 37.8 cm3 in the combined group. Significant frontal lobe edema was identified in 10 cases (52.6%). The majority of tumors were either Mohr Grade II (moderate) (42.1%) or Grade III (large) (47.4%). Gross-total resection was achieved in 50% of the endonasal cases, 100% of the supraorbital eyebrow cases with endoscopic assistance, and 66.7% of the combined cases. The extent of resection was 87.8% for the endonasal cases, 100% for the supraorbital eyebrow cases, and 98.9% for the combined cases. Postoperative anosmia occurred in 100% of the endonasal and combined cases and only 57.1% of the supraorbital eyebrow cases. Excluding anosmia, permanent complications occurred in 83.3% of the cases in the endoscopic group, 0% of the cases in the supraorbital eyebrow group, and 16.7% of cases in the combined group (p = 0.017). There were 3 tumor recurrences: 2 in the endonasal group and 1 in the combined group.


The supraorbital eyebrow approach, with endoscopic assistance, leads to a higher extent of resection and lower rate of complications than the purely endonasal endoscopic approach. The endonasal endoscopic approach by itself may be suitable for a small percentage of cases. The combined above-and-below approaches are useful for large tumors with invasion of the ethmoid sinuses.

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Shaan M. Raza, Angela M. Donaldson, Alpesh Mehta, Apostolos J. Tsiouris, Vijay K. Anand, and Theodore H. Schwartz


Because multiple anatomical compartments are involved, the surgical management of trigeminal schwannomas requires a spectrum of cranial base approaches. The endoscopic endonasal approach to Meckel's cave provides a minimal access corridor for surgery, but few reports have assessed outcomes of the procedure or provided guidelines for case selection.


A prospectively acquired database of 680 endoscopic endonasal cases was queried for trigeminal schwannoma cases. Clinical charts, radiographic images, and long-term outcomes were reviewed to determine outcome and success in removing tumor from each compartment traversed by the trigeminal nerve.


Four patients had undergone endoscopic resection of trigeminal schwannomas via the transpterygoid approach (mean follow-up 37 months). All patients had disease within Meckel's cave, and 1 patient had extension into the posterior fossa. Gross-total resection was achieved in 3 patients whose tumors were purely extracranial. One patient with combined Meckel's cave and posterior fossa tumor had complete resection of the extracranial disease and 52% resection of the posterior fossa disease. One patient with posterior fossa disease experienced a sixth cranial nerve palsy in addition to a corneal keratopathy from worsened trigeminal neuropathy. There were no CSF leaks. Over the course of the study, 1 patient with subtotal resection required subsequent stereotactic radiosurgery for disease progression within the posterior fossa.


Endoscopic endonasal approaches appear to be well suited for trigeminal schwannomas restricted to Meckel's cave and/or extracranial segments of the nerve. Lateral transcranial skull base approaches should be considered for patients with posterior fossa disease. Further multiinstitutional studies will be necessary for adequate power to help determine relative indications between endoscopic and transcranial skull base approaches.