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Osamu Akiyama, Ken Matsushima, Maximiliano Nunez, Satoshi Matsuo, Akihide Kondo, Hajime Arai, Albert L. Rhoton Jr. and Toshio Matsushima

OBJECTIVE

The lateral recess is a unique structure communicating between the ventricle and cistern, which is exposed when treating lesions involving the fourth ventricle and the brainstem with surgical approaches such as the transcerebellomedullary fissure approach. In this study, the authors examined the microsurgical anatomy around the lateral recess, including the fiber tracts, and analyzed their findings with respect to surgical exposure of the lateral recess and entry into the lower pons.

METHODS

Ten cadaveric heads were examined with microsurgical techniques, and 2 heads were examined with fiber dissection to clarify the anatomy between the lateral recess and adjacent structures. The lateral and medial routes directed to the lateral recess in the transcerebellomedullary fissure approach were demonstrated. A morphometric study was conducted in the 10 cadaveric heads (20 sides).

RESULTS

The lateral recess was classified into medullary and cisternal segments. The medial and lateral routes in the transcerebellomedullary fissure approach provided access to approximately 140º–150º of the posteroinferior circumference of the lateral recess. The floccular peduncle ran rostral to the lateral recess, and this region was considered to be a potential safe entry zone to the lower pons. By appropriately selecting either route, medial-to-lateral or lateral-to-medial entry axis is possible, and combining both routes provided wide exposure of the lower pons around the lateral recess.

CONCLUSIONS

The medial and lateral routes of the transcerebellomedullary fissure approach provided wide exposure of the lateral recess, and incision around the floccular peduncle is a potential new safe entry zone to the lower pons.

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Ken Matsushima, Michihiro Kohno, Noritaka Komune, Koichi Miki, Toshio Matsushima and Albert L. Rhoton Jr.

Object

Jugular foramen tumors often extend intra- and extracranially. The gross-total removal of tumors located both intracranially and intraforaminally is technically challenging and often requires a combined skull base approach. This study presents a suprajugular extension of the retrosigmoid approach directed through the osseous roof of the jugular foramen that allows the removal of tumors located in the cerebellopontine angle with extension into the upper part of the foramen, with demonstration of an illustrative case.

Methods

The cerebellopontine angles and jugular foramina were examined in dry skulls and cadaveric heads to clarify the microsurgical anatomy around the jugular foramen and to define the steps of the suprajugular exposure.

Results

The area drilled in the suprajugular approach is inferior to the acoustic meatus, medial to the endolymphatic depression and surrounding the superior half of the glossopharyngeal dural fold. Opening this area exposed the upper part of the jugular foramen and extended the exposure along the glossopharyngeal nerve below the roof of the jugular foramen. In the illustrative case, a schwannoma originating from the glossopharyngeal nerve in the cerebellopontine angle and extending below the roof of the jugular foramen and above the jugular bulb was totally removed without any postoperative complications.

Conclusions

The suprajugular extension of the retrosigmoid approach will permit removal of tumors located predominantly in the cerebellopontine angle but also extending into the upper part of the jugular foramen without any additional skull base approaches.

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Masatou Kawashima, Necmettin Tanriover, Albert L. Rhoton Jr. and Toshio Matsushima

Object. The microsurgical anatomy of the C3–6 transverse processes and their relationship to the intertransverse space and vertebral artery (VA) were examined with special attention to the aspect exposed in the anterior surgical approach.

Methods. Ten adult cadaveric spines were examined (magnification levels × 3–40) after perfusion of the arteries and veins with colored silicone. The morphological detail of the transverse process and intertransverse space, the distances between selected surgical landmarks and the VA were measured, and the means and standard deviations were calculated. The osseous changes in the anterior root of the transverse process were classified according to their extent.

The transverse processes became smaller, and the anterior intertransverse spaces and the width of the VA exposed in the space increased in size proceeding from caudal to rostral levels, thus exposing the VA to increased risk of injury during procedures at cephalad levels. The distance between the medial border of the longus colli muscle and the VA decreased when proceeding caudally from C2–3 to C4–5 interspaces but began to increase at the level of C5–6. The VA coursed closer to the lateral border of the vertebral body than to the medial border of the anterior tubercle of the transverse process. Osseous changes consisting of thinning or defects in the anterior root of the transverse process were observed from C-3 to C-5. The thinning was most prominent in the lower half of the anterior root just above where the VA ascends behind the lower edge of the anterior root. The osseous change may reflect the erosive effect of the VA on the anterior root of the transverse process.

Conclusions. This study provides new information regarding the transverse process and especially the anterior root. An awareness of the thinness and defects in the anterior root of the transverse process and the relationships to the surrounding area will aid in reducing VA injury during anterior approaches to the cervical spine.

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Toshio Matsushima, Satoshi O. Suzuki, Masashi Fukui, Albert L. Rhoton Jr., Evandro de Oliveira and Michio Ono

✓ Variations of the tentorial sinus of cadaver cerebellar tentoria were examined under a surgical microscope. The tentorial sinuses were classified into four groups: Group I, in which the sinus receives venous blood from the cerebral hemisphere; Group II, in which the sinus drains the cerebellum; Group III, in which the sinus originates in the tentorium itself; and Group IV, in which the sinus originates from a vein bridging to the tentorial free edge. The tentorial sinuses of Groups I and II were frequently located in the posterior portion of the tentorium. The sinuses of Group I were short and most frequently present in the lateral portion of the tentorium. The tentorial sinuses of Group II, which were usually large and drained into the dural sinuses near the torcular, were separated into five subtypes according to the draining veins and direction of termination. The tentorial sinuses of Groups III and IV were located near the tentorial free edge or the straight sinus. The draining patterns of the tentorial sinuses and their draining veins (so-called “bridging veins”) were present in most cases. Knowledge of this anatomy can benefit the neurosurgeon carrying out repair near or on the cerebellar tentorium.

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Toshio Matsushima, Albert L. Rhoton Jr., Evandro de Oliveira and David Peace

✓ The microsurgical anatomy of the veins of the posterior fossa was defined in 25 cadavers. These veins are divided into four groups: superficial, deep, brain-stem, and bridging veins. The superficial veins are divided on the basis of which of the three cortical surfaces they drain: the tentorial surface, which faces the tentorium and is exposed in a supracerebellar approach, is drained by the superior hemispheric and vermian veins; the suboccipital surface, which is below and between the lateral and sigmoid sinuses and is exposed in a wide suboccipital craniectomy, is drained by the inferior hemispheric and inferior vermian veins; and the petrosal surface, which faces forward toward the posterior surface of the petrous bone and is retracted to expose the cerebellopontine angle, is drained by the anterior hemispheric veins. The deep veins course in the three fissures between the cerebellum and the brain stem, and on the three cerebellar peduncles. The major deep veins in the fissures between the cerebellum and brain stem are the veins of the cerebellomesencephalic, cerebellomedullary, and cerebellopontine fissures, and those on the cerebellar peduncles are the veins of the superior, middle, and inferior cerebellar peduncles. The veins of the brain stem are named on the basis of whether they drain the midbrain, pons, or medulla. The veins of the posterior fossa terminate as bridging veins, which collect into three groups: a galenic group which drains into the vein of Galen; a petrosal group which drains into the petrosal sinuses; and a tentorial group which drains into the tentorial sinuses near the torcula.