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Mohamed A. Labib, Xiaochun Zhao, Lena Mary Houlihan, Irakliy Abramov, Joshua S. Catapano, Komal Naeem, Mark C. Preul, A. Samy Youssef, and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

The combined petrosal (CP) approach has been traditionally used to resect petroclival meningioma (PCM). The pretemporal transcavernous anterior petrosal (PTAP) approach has emerged as an alternative. A quantitative comparison of both approaches has not been made. This anatomical study compared the surgical corridors afforded by both approaches and identified key elements of the approach selection process.

METHODS

Twelve cadaveric specimens were dissected, and 10 were used for morphometric analysis. Groups A and B (n = 5 in each) underwent the CP and PTAP approaches, respectively. The area of drilled clivus, lengths of cranial nerves (CNs) II–X, length of posterior circulation vessels, surgical area of exposure of the brainstem, and angles of attack anterior and posterior to a common target were measured and compared.

RESULTS

The area of drilled clivus was significantly greater in group A than group B (mean ± SD 88.7 ± 17.1 mm2 vs 48.4 ± 17.9 mm2, p < 0.01). Longer segments of ipsilateral CN IV (52.4 ± 2.33 mm vs 46.5 ± 3.71 mm, p < 0.02), CN IX, and CN X (9.91 ± 3.21 mm vs 0.00 ± 0.00 mm, p < 0.01) were exposed in group A than group B. Shorter portions of CN II (9.31 ± 1.28 mm vs 17.6 ± 6.89 mm, p < 0.02) and V1 (26.9 ± 4.62 mm vs 32.4 ± 1.93 mm, p < 0.03) were exposed in group A than group B. Longer segments of ipsilateral superior cerebellar artery (SCA) were exposed in group A than group B (36.0 ± 4.91 mm vs 25.8 ± 3.55 mm, p < 0.02), but there was less exposure of contralateral SCA (0.00 ± 0.00 mm vs 7.95 ± 3.33 mm, p < 0.01). There was no statistically significant difference between groups with regard to the combined area of the exposed cerebral peduncles and pons (p = 0.75). Although exposure of the medulla was limited, group A had significantly greater exposure of the medulla than group B (p < 0.01). Finally, group A had a smaller anterior angle of attack than group B (24.1° ± 5.62° vs 34.8° ± 7.51°, p < 0.03).

CONCLUSIONS

This is the first study to quantitatively identify the advantages and limitations of the CP and PTAP approaches from an anatomical perspective. Understanding these data will aid in designing maximally effective yet minimally invasive approaches to PCM.

Free access

Xiaochun Zhao, Ali Tayebi Meybodi, Mohamed A. Labib, Sirin Gandhi, Evgenii Belykh, Komal Naeem, Mark C. Preul, Peter Nakaji, and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

Aneurysms that arise on the medial surface of the paraclinoid segment of the internal carotid artery (ICA) are surgically challenging. The contralateral interoptic trajectory, which uses the space between the optic nerves, can partially expose the medial surface of the paraclinoid ICA. In this study, the authors quantitatively measure the area of the medial ICA accessible through the interoptic triangle and propose a potential patient-selection algorithm that is based on preoperative measurements on angiographic imaging.

METHODS

The contralateral interoptic trajectory was studied on 10 sides of 5 cadaveric heads, through which the medial paraclinoid ICA was identified. The falciform ligament medial to the contralateral optic canal was incised, the contralateral optic nerve was gently elevated, and the medial surface of the paraclinoid ICA was inspected via different viewing angles to obtain maximal exposure. The accessible area on the carotid artery was outlined. The distance from the distal dural ring (DDR) to the proximal and distal borders of this accessible area was measured. The superior and inferior borders were measured using the clockface method relative to a vertical line on the coronal plane. To validate these parameters, preoperative measurements and intraoperative findings were reviewed in 8 clinical cases.

RESULTS

In the sagittal plane, the mean (SD) distances from the DDR to the proximal and distal ends of the accessible area on the paraclinoid ICA were 2.5 (1.52) mm and 8.4 (2.32) mm, respectively. In the coronal plane, the mean (SD) angles of the superior and inferior ends of the accessible area relative to a vertical line were 21.7° (14.84°) and 130.9° (12.75°), respectively. Six (75%) of 8 clinical cases were consistent with the proposed patient-selection algorithm.

CONCLUSIONS

The contralateral interoptic approach is a feasible route to access aneurysms that arise from the medial paraclinoid ICA. An aneurysm can be safely clipped via the contralateral interoptic trajectory if 1) both proximal and distal borders of the aneurysm neck are 2.5–8.4 mm distal to the DDR, and 2) at least one border of the aneurysm neck on the coronal clockface is 21.7°–130.9° medial to the vertical line.

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Mohamed A. Labib, Leandro Borba Moreira, Xiaochun Zhao, Sirin Gandhi, Claudio Cavallo, Ali Tayebi Meybodi, A. Samy Youssef, Andrew S. Little, Peter Nakaji, Mark C. Preul, and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

The pretemporal transcavernous approach (PTA) and the endoscopic endonasal transcavernous approach (EETA) are both used to access the retroclival region. A direct quantitative comparison of both approaches has not been made. The authors compared the technical nuances of, and surgical exposure afforded by, each approach and identified the key elements of the approach selection process.

METHODS

Fourteen cadaveric specimens underwent either PTA (group A) or EETA with unilateral (group B) followed by bilateral (group C) interdural pituitary gland transposition. The percentage of drilled clivus; length of exposed oculomotor nerve (cranial nerve [CN] III), posterior cerebral artery (PCA), and superior cerebellar artery (SCA); and surgical area of exposure of both cerebral peduncles and the pons for the 3 groups were measured and compared.

RESULTS

Group A had a significantly lower percentage of drilled area than group B (mean [SD], 35.6% [11.2%] vs 91.3% [4.9%], p < 0.01). In group C, 100% of the upper third of the clivus was drilled in all specimens. Significantly longer segments of the ipsilateral PCA (p < 0.01) and SCA (p < 0.01) were exposed in group A than in group B. There was no significant difference in the length of the ipsilateral CN III exposed among the 3 groups. There was also no significant difference between group A and either group B or group C for the contralateral CN III or PCA exposure. However, longer segments of the contralateral SCA were exposed in group C than in group A (p = 0.02). Furthermore, longer segments of CN III (p < 0.01), PCA (p < 0.01), and SCA (p < 0.01) were exposed in group C than in group B. For brainstem exposure, there was greater exposure of the pons in group C than in group A (mean [SD], 211.4 [19.5] mm2 vs 157.7 [25.3] mm2, p < 0.01) and group B (211.4 [19.5] mm2 vs 153.9 [34.1] mm2, p < 0.01). However, significantly greater exposure of the ipsilateral peduncle was observed in group A (mean [SD], 125.6 [43.1] mm2) than in groups B and C (56.3 [6.0] mm2, p < 0.01). Group C had significantly greater exposure of the contralateral peduncle than group B (p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS

This study is the first to quantitatively identify the advantages and limitations of the PTA and EETA from an anatomical perspective. Understanding these data may help the skull base surgeon design a maximally effective yet minimally invasive approach to individual lesions.

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Qing Sun, Xiaochun Zhao, Sirin Gandhi, Ali Tayebi Meybodi, Evgenii Belykh, Daniel Valli, Claudio Cavallo, Leandro Borba Moreira, Peter Nakaji, Michael T. Lawton, and Mark C. Preul

OBJECTIVE

The cisternal pulvinar is a challenging location for neurosurgery. Four approaches for reaching the pulvinar without cortical transgression are the ipsilateral supracerebellar infratentorial (iSCIT), contralateral supracerebellar infratentorial (cSCIT), ipsilateral occipital transtentorial (iOCTT), and contralateral occipital transtentorial/falcine (cOCTF) approaches. This study quantitatively compared these approaches in terms of surgical exposure and maneuverability.

METHODS

Each of the 4 approaches was performed in 4 cadaveric heads (8 specimens in total). A 6-sided anatomical polygonal region was configured over the cisternal pulvinar, defined by 6 reachable anatomical points in different vectors. Multiple polygons were subsequently formed to calculate the areas of exposure. The surgical freedom of each approach was calculated as the maximum allowable working area at the proximal end of a probe, with the distal end fixed at the posterior pole of the pulvinar. Areas of exposure, surgical freedom, and the working distance (surgical depth) of all approaches were compared.

RESULTS

No significant difference was found among the 4 different approaches with regard to the surgical depth, surgical freedom, or medial exposure area of the pulvinar. In the pairwise comparison, the cSCIT approach provided a significantly larger lateral exposure (39 ± 9.8 mm2) than iSCIT (19 ± 10.3 mm2, p < 0.01), iOCTT (19 ± 8.2 mm2, p < 0.01), and cOCTF (28 ± 7.3 mm2, p = 0.02) approaches. The total exposure area with a cSCIT approach (75 ± 23.1 mm2) was significantly larger than with iOCTT (43 ± 16.4 mm2, p < 0.01) and iSCIT (40 ± 20.2 mm2, p = 0.01) approaches (pairwise, p ≤ 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

The cSCIT approach is preferable among the 4 compared approaches, demonstrating better exposure to the cisternal pulvinar than ipsilateral approaches and a larger lateral exposure than the cOCTF approach. Both contralateral approaches described (cSCIT and cOCTF) provided enhanced lateral exposure to the pulvinar, while the cOCTF provided a larger exposure to the lateral portion of the pulvinar than the iOCTT. Medial exposure and maneuverability did not differ among the approaches. A short tentorium may negatively impact an ipsilateral approach because the cingulate isthmus and parahippocampal gyrus tend to protrude, in which case they can obstruct access to the cisternal pulvinar ipsilaterally.

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Ali Tayebi Meybodi, Michael T. Lawton, Leandro Borba Moreira, Xiaochun Zhao, Michael J. Lang, Peter Nakaji, and Mark C. Preul

OBJECTIVE

Harvesting the occipital artery (OA) is challenging. The subcutaneous OA is usually found near the superior nuchal line and followed proximally, requiring a large incision and risking damage to the superficially located OA. The authors assessed the anatomical feasibility and safety of exposing the OA through a retromastoid-transmuscular approach.

METHODS

Using 10 cadaveric heads, 20 OAs were harvested though a 5-cm retroauricular incision placed 5 cm posterior to the external auditory meatus. The underlying muscle layers were sequentially cut and recorded before exposing the OA. Changes in the orientation of muscle fibers were used as a roadmap to expose the OA without damaging it.

RESULTS

The suboccipital segment of the OA was exposed without damage after incising two consecutive layers of muscles and their investing fasciae. These muscles displayed different fiber directions: the superficially located sternocleidomastoid muscle with vertically oriented fibers, and the underlying splenius capitis with anteroposteriorly (and mediolaterally) oriented fibers. The OA could be harvested along the entire length of the skin incision in all specimens. If needed, the incision can be extended proximally and/or distally to follow the OA and harvest greater lengths.

CONCLUSIONS

This transmuscular technique for identification of the OA is a reliable method and may facilitate exposure and protection of the OA during a retrosigmoid approach. This technique may obviate the need for larger incisions when planning a bypass to nearby arteries in the posterior circulation via a retrosigmoid craniotomy. Additionally, the small skin incision can be enlarged when a different craniotomy and/or bypass is planned or when a greater length of the OA is needed to be harvested.

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Ali Tayebi Meybodi, Leandro Borba Moreira, Michael T. Lawton, Jennifer M. Eschbacher, Evgenii G. Belykh, Michelle M. Felicella, and Mark C. Preul

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.

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Ali Tayebi Meybodi, Leandro Borba Moreira, Andrew S. Little, Michael T. Lawton, and Mark C. Preul

OBJECTIVE

Endoscopic endonasal approaches (EEAs) are increasingly being incorporated into the neurosurgeon’s armamentarium for treatment of various pathologies, including paraclinoid aneurysms. However, few anatomical assessments have been performed on the use of EEA for this purpose. The aim of the present study was to provide a comprehensive anatomical assessment of the EEA for the treatment of paraclinoid aneurysms.

METHODS

Five cadaveric heads underwent an endonasal transplanum-transtuberculum approach to expose the paraclinoid area. The feasibility of obtaining proximal and distal internal carotid artery (ICA) control as well as the topographic location of the origin of the ophthalmic artery (OphA) relative to dural landmarks were assessed. Limitations of the EEA in exposing the supraclinoid ICA were also recorded to identify favorable paraclinoid ICA aneurysm projections for EEA.

RESULTS

The extracavernous paraclival and clinoidal ICAs were favorable segments for establishing proximal control. Clipping the extracavernous ICA risked injury to the trigeminal and abducens nerves, whereas clipping the clinoidal segment put the oculomotor nerve at risk. The OphA origin was found within 4 mm of the medial opticocarotid point on a line connecting the midtubercular recess point to the medial vertex of the lateral opticocarotid recess. An average 7.2-mm length of the supraclinoid ICA could be safely clipped for distal control. Assessments showed that small superiorly or medially projecting aneurysms were favorable candidates for clipping via EEA.

CONCLUSIONS

When used for paraclinoid aneurysms, the EEA carries certain risks to adjacent neurovascular structures during proximal control, dural opening, and distal control. While some authors have promoted this approach as feasible, this work demonstrates that it has significant limitations and may only be appropriate in highly selected cases that are not amenable to coiling or clipping. Further clinical experience with this approach helps to delineate its risks and benefits.

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Ali Tayebi Meybodi, Sirin Gandhi, Justin Mascitelli, Baran Bozkurt, Gyang Bot, Mark C. Preul, and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

Access to the ventrolateral pontomesencephalic area may be required for resecting cavernous malformations, performing revascularization of the upper posterior circulation, and treating vascular lesions such as aneurysms. However, such access is challenging because of nearby eloquent structures. Commonly used corridors to this surgical area include the optico-carotid, supracarotid, and carotid-oculomotor triangles. However, the window lateral to the oculomotor nerve can also be used and has not been studied. The authors describe the anatomical window formed between the oculomotor nerve and the medial tentorial edge (the oculomotor-tentorial triangle [OTT]) to the ventrolateral pontomesencephalic area, and assess techniques to expand it.

METHODS

Four cadaveric heads (8 sides) underwent orbitozygomatic craniotomy. The OTT was exposed via a pretemporal approach. The contents of the OTT were determined and their anatomical features were recorded. Also, dimensions of the brainstem surface exposed lateral and inferior to the oculomotor nerve were measured. Measurements were repeated after completing a transcavernous approach (TcA), and after resection of temporal lobe uncus (UnR).

RESULTS

The s1 segment and proximal s2 segment of the superior cerebellar artery (SCA) and P2A segment of the posterior cerebral artery (PCA) were the main contents of the OTT, with average exposed lengths of 6.4 ± 1.3 mm and 5.5 ± 1.6 mm for the SCA and PCA, respectively. The exposed length of the SCA increased to 9.6 ± 2.7 mm after TcA (p = 0.002), and reached 11.6 ± 2.4 mm following UnR (p = 0.004). The exposed PCA length increased to 6.2 ± 1.6 mm after TcA (p = 0.04), and reached 10.4 ± 1.8 mm following UnR (p < 0.001). The brainstem surface was exposed 7.1 ± 0.5 mm inferior and 5.6 ± 0.9 mm lateral to the oculomotor nerve initially. The exposure inferior to the oculomotor nerve increased to 9.3 ± 1.7 mm after TcA (p = 0.003), and to 9.9 ± 2.5 mm after UnR (p = 0.21). The exposure lateral to the oculomotor nerve increased to 8.0 ± 1.7 mm after TcA (p = 0.001), and to 10.4 ± 2.4 mm after UnR (p = 0.002).

CONCLUSIONS

The OTT is an anatomical window that provides generous access to the upper ventrolateral pontomesencephalic area, s1- and s2-SCA, and P2A-PCA. This window may be efficiently used to address various pathologies in the region and is considerably expandable by TcA and/or UnR.

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Ali Tayebi Meybodi, Sirin Gandhi, Mark C. Preul, and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

Exposure of the vertebral artery (VA) between C-1 and C-2 vertebrae (atlantoaxial VA) may be necessary in a variety of pathologies of the craniovertebral junction. Current methods to expose this segment of the VA entail sharp dissection of muscles close to the internal jugular vein and the spinal accessory nerve. The present study assesses the technique of exposing the atlantoaxial VA through a newly defined muscular triangle at the craniovertebral junction.

METHODS

Five cadaveric heads were prepared for surgical simulation in prone position, turned 30°–45° toward the side of exposure. The atlantoaxial VA was exposed through the subatlantic triangle after reflecting the sternocleidomastoid and splenius capitis muscles inferiorly. The subatlantic triangle was formed by 3 groups of muscles: 1) the levator scapulae and splenius cervicis muscles inferiorly and laterally, 2) the longissimus capitis muscle inferiorly and medially, and 3) the inferior oblique capitis superiorly. The lengths of the VA exposed through the triangle before and after unroofing the C-2 transverse foramen were measured.

RESULTS

The subatlantic triangle consistently provided access to the whole length of atlantoaxial VA. The average length of the VA exposed via the subatlantic triangle was 19.5 mm. This average increased to 31.5 mm after the VA was released at the C-2 transverse foramen.

CONCLUSIONS

The subatlantic triangle provides a simple and straightforward pathway to expose the atlantoaxial VA. The proposed method may be useful during posterior approaches to the craniovertebral junction should early exposure and control of the atlantoaxial VA become necessary.