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Daniel Dutra Cavalcanti, Bárbara Albuquerque Morais, Eberval Gadelha Figueiredo, Robert F. Spetzler, and Mark C. Preul


The brainstem is a compact, delicate structure. The surgeon must have good anatomical knowledge of the safe entry points to safely resect intrinsic lesions. Lesions located at the lateral midbrain surface are better approached through the lateral mesencephalic sulcus (LMS). The goal of this study was to compare the surgical exposure to the LMS provided by the subtemporal (ST) approach and the paramedian and extreme-lateral variants of the supracerebellar infratentorial (SCIT) approach.


These 3 approaches were used in 10 cadaveric heads. The authors performed measurements of predetermined points by using a neuronavigation system. Areas of microsurgical exposure and angles of the approaches were determined. Statistical analysis was performed to identify significant differences in the respective exposures.


The surgical exposure was similar for the different approaches—369.8 ± 70.1 mm2 for the ST; 341.2 ± 71.2 mm2 for the SCIT paramedian variant; and 312.0 ± 79.3 mm2 for the SCIT extreme-lateral variant (p = 0.13). However, the vertical angular exposure was 16.3° ± 3.6° for the ST, 19.4° ± 3.4° for the SCIT paramedian variant, and 25.1° ± 3.3° for the SCIT extreme-lateral variant craniotomy (p < 0.001). The horizontal angular exposure was 45.2° ± 6.3° for the ST, 35.6° ± 2.9° for the SCIT paramedian variant, and 45.5° ± 6.6° for the SCIT extreme-lateral variant opening, presenting no difference between the ST and extreme-lateral variant (p = 0.92), but both were superior to the paramedian variant (p < 0.001). Data are expressed as the mean ± SD.


The extreme-lateral SCIT approach had the smaller area of surgical exposure; however, these differences were not statistically significant. The extreme-lateral SCIT approach presented a wider vertical and horizontal angle to the LMS compared to the other craniotomies. Also, it provides a 90° trajectory to the sulcus that facilitates the intraoperative microsurgical technique.

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Eberval Gadelha Figueiredo, Saul Almeida da Silva, Manoel Jacobsen Teixeira, Evgenii Belykh, Alessandro Carotenuto, Leandro Borba Moreira, Robert F. Spetzler, T. Forcht Dagi, and Mark C. Preul

Fedor Krause, the father of German neurosurgery, traveled to Latin America twice in the final years of his career (in 1920 and 1922). The associations and motivations for his travels to South America and his work there have not been well chronicled. In this paper, based on a review of historical official documents and publications, the authors describe Krause’s activities in South America (focusing on Brazil) within the context of the Germanism doctrine and, most importantly, the professional enjoyment Krause reaped from his trips as well as his lasting influence on neurosurgery in South America. Fedor Krause’s visits to Brazil occurred soon after World War I, when Germany sought to reestablish economic, political, cultural, and scientific power and influence. Science, particularly medicine, had been chosen as a field capable of meeting these needs. The advanced German system of academic organization and instruction, which included connections and collaborations with industry, was an optimal means to reestablish the economic viability of not only Germany but also Brazil. Krause, as a de facto ambassador, helped rebuild the German image and reconstruct diplomatic relations between Germany and Brazil. Krause’s interactions during his visits helped put Brazilian neurosurgery on a firm foundation, and he left an indelible legacy of advancing professionalism and specialization in neurosurgery in Brazil.

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Eberval Gadelha Figueiredo, Manoel J. Teixeira, Robert F. Spetzler, and Mark C. Preul

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Eberval Gadelha Figueiredo, Joseph M. Zabramski, Pushpa Deshmukh, Neil R. Crawford, Mark C. Preul, and Robert F. Spetzler


The management of wide-necked, giant, or unsuccessfully coil-treated basilar apex aneurysms requires a wide exposure, for both working area and linear visualization of the basilar artery (BA). Cranial-based approaches, such as the transcavernous approach, have been proposed to deal with such aneurysms; whether abbreviated forms of this approach might provide similar exposure remains controversial. The authors examine this issue quantitatively.


Four alcohol-preserved cadaveric heads injected with pigmented silicone were prepared for bilateral dissection. After completing an orbitozygomatic craniotomy, the surgeons worked in a reverse direction, performing the transcavernous approach in five steps: 1) posterior clinoidectomy; 2) cavernous sinus opening; 3) anterior clinoidectomy; 4) cutting of the distal dural ring; and 5) cutting of the proximal dural ring.

Performing the complete transcavernous approach significantly increased the working area and linear exposure of the BA compared with abbreviated forms of the approach (p < 0.05). Opening the roof of the cavernous sinus significantly increased the working area compared with posterior clinoidectomy alone (p = 0.014); however, additional gains in exposure required completing the transcavernous approach. Resection of the anterior clinoid process combined with opening of only the distal dural ring did not significantly increase the working area or linear exposure of the BA.


The complete transcavernous approach significantly increases the working area and linear exposure of the BA compared with the more conservative forms of approach.

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Rungsak Siwanuwatn, Pushpa Deshmukh, Eberval Gadelha Figueiredo, Neil R. Crawford, Robert F. Spetzler, and Mark C. Preul


The authors quantitatively assessed the working areas and angles of attack associated with retrosigmoid (RS), combined petrosal (CP), and transcochlear (TC) craniotomies.


Four silicone-injected cadaveric heads were bilaterally dissected using three approaches progressing from the least to the most extensive. Working areas were determined using the Optotrak 3020 system on the upper and middle thirds of the petroclivus and brainstem. Angles of attack were studied using the Elekta SurgiScope at the Dorello canal and the origin of the anterior inferior cerebellar artery (AICA).

The TC approach provided significantly greater (p < 0.001) working areas at the petroclivus (755.6 ± 130.1 mm2) and brainstem (399.3 ± 68.2 mm2) than the CP (354.1 ± 60.3 and 289.7 ± 69.9 mm2) and RS approaches (292.4 ± 59.9, 177.2 ± 54.2 mm2, respectively). The brainstem working area associated with the CP approach was significantly larger (p < 0.001) than that associated with the RS route. There was no difference in the petroclival working area comparing the CP and RS approaches (p = 0.149). The horizontal and vertical angles of attack achieved using the TC approach were wider than those of the CP and RS at the Dorello canal and the origin of the AICA (p < 0.001).


The CP approach offers a more extensive working area than the RS for lesions involving the anterolateral surface of the brainstem, but not for petroclival lesions. The TC approach provides the widest corridor, improving the working area and angle of attack to both areas, but hearing must be sacrificed and the facial nerve is at risk.