Anatomical variants of the anterior inferior cerebellar artery (AICA), such as an anomalous “AICA loop” embedded in the dura and bone of the subarcuate fossa, increase the complexity and risk of vestibular schwannoma resections. Classically, osseous penetrating AICA loops are the most challenging to mobilize, as the dura must be dissected and the surrounding petrous bone must be drilled to mobilize the AICA away from the surgical corridor and out of harm.
The authors present a rare case of a dura-embedded, osseous-penetrating AICA loop encountered during a hearing-preserving retrosigmoid approach in which they demonstrate safe and efficient microdissection and mobilization of the AICA loop without having to drill the surrounding bone.
Although preoperative recognition of potentially dangerous AICA loops has been challenging, thin-sliced petrous bone computed tomography scanning and high-quality magnetic resonance imaging can be useful in preoperative diagnosis. Furthermore, this report suggests that a retrosigmoid approach is superior, as it allows early intradural recognition and proximal vascular control and facilitates more versatile mobilization of AICA loops.