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Ricardo L. L. Dolci, Leo F. S. Ditzel Filho, Carlos R. Goulart, Smita Upadhyay, Lamia Buohliqah, Paulo R. Lazarini, Daniel M. Prevedello, and Ricardo L. Carrau

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to evaluate the anatomical variations of the internal carotid artery (ICA) in relation to the quadrangular space (QS) and to propose a classification system based on the results.

METHODS

A total of 44 human cadaveric specimens were dissected endonasally under direct endoscopic visualization. During the dissection, the anatomical variations of the ICA and their relationship with the QS were noted.

RESULTS

The space between the paraclival ICAs (i.e., intercarotid space) can be classified as 1 of 3 different shapes (i.e., trapezoid, square, or hourglass) based on the trajectory of the ICAs. The ICA trajectories also directly influence the volumetric area of the QS. Based on its geometry, the QS was classified as one of the following: 1) Type A has the smallest QS area and is associated with a trapezoid intercarotid space, 2) Type B corresponds to the expected QS area (not minimized or enlarged) and is associated with a square intercarotid space, and 3) Type C has the largest QS area and is associated with an hourglass intercarotid space.

CONCLUSIONS

The different trajectories of the ICAs can modify the area of the QS and may be an essential parameter to consider for preoperative planning and defining the most appropriate corridor to reach Meckel's cave. In addition, ICA trajectories should be considered prior to surgery to avoid injuring the vessels.

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Michael A. Cohen, Alexander I. Evins, Gennaro Lapadula, Leopold Arko, Philip E. Stieg, and Antonio Bernardo

OBJECTIVE

The rectus capitis lateralis (RCL) is a small posterior cervical muscle that originates from the transverse process of C-1 and inserts onto the jugular process of the occipital bone. The authors describe the RCL and its anatomical relationships, and discuss its utility as a surgical landmark for safe exposure of the jugular foramen in extended or combined skull base approaches. In addition, the condylar triangle is defined as a landmark for localizing the vertebral artery (VA) and occipital condyle.

METHODS

Four cadaveric heads (8 sides) were used to perform far-lateral, extended far-lateral, combined transmastoid infralabyrinthine transcervical, and combined far-lateral transmastoid infralabyrinthine transcervical approaches to the jugular foramen. On each side, the RCL was dissected, and its musculoskeletal, vascular, and neural relationships were examined.

RESULTS

The RCL lies directly posterior to the internal jugular vein—only separated by the carotid sheath and in some cases cranial nerve (CN) XI. The occipital artery travels between the RCL and the posterior belly of the digastric muscle, and the VA passes medially to the RCL as it exits the C-1 foramen transversarium and courses posteriorly toward its dural entrance. CNs IX–XI exit the jugular foramen directly anterior to the RCL. To provide a landmark for identification of the occipital condyle and the extradural VA without exposure of the suboccipital triangle, the authors propose and define a condylar triangle that is formed by the RCL anteriorly, the superior oblique posteriorly, and the occipital bone superiorly.

CONCLUSIONS

The RCL is an important surgical landmark that allows for early identification of the critical neurovascular structures when approaching the jugular foramen, especially in the presence of anatomically displacing tumors. The condylar triangle is a novel and useful landmark for identifying the terminal segment of the hypoglossal canal as well as the superior aspect of the VA at its exit from the C-1 foramen transversarium, without performing a far-lateral exposure.

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Kaan Yağmurlu, Hasan A. Zaidi, M. Yashar S. Kalani, Albert L. Rhoton Jr., Mark C. Preul, and Robert F. Spetzler

Pineal region tumors are challenging to access because they are centrally located within the calvaria and surrounded by critical neurovascular structures. The goal of this work is to describe a new surgical trajectory, the anterior interhemispheric transsplenial approach, to the pineal region and falcotentorial junction area. To demonstrate this approach, the authors examined 7 adult formalin-fixed silicone-injected cadaveric heads and 2 fresh human brain specimens. One representative case of falcotentorial meningioma treated through an anterior interhemispheric transsplenial approach is also described. Among the interhemispheric approaches to the pineal region, the anterior interhemispheric transsplenial approach has several advantages. 1) There are few or no bridging veins at the level of the pericoronal suture. 2) The parietal and occipital lobes are not retracted, which reduces the chances of approach-related morbidity, especially in the dominant hemisphere. 3) The risk of damage to the deep venous structures is low because the tumor surface reached first is relatively vein free. 4) The internal cerebral veins can be manipulated and dissected away laterally through the anterior interhemispheric route but not via the posterior interhemispheric route. 5) Early control of medial posterior choroidal arteries is obtained. The anterior interhemispheric transsplenial approach provides a safe and effective surgical corridor for patients with supratentorial pineal region tumors that 1) extend superiorly, involve the splenium of the corpus callosum, and push the deep venous system in a posterosuperior or an anteroinferior direction; 2) are tentorial and displace the deep venous system inferiorly; or 3) originate from the splenium of the corpus callosum.

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Walid I. Essayed, Harminder Singh, Gennaro Lapadula, Gustavo J. Almodovar-Mercado, Vijay K. Anand, and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

Sporadic cases of endonasal intraaxial brainstem surgery have been reported in the recent literature. The authors endeavored to assess the feasibility and limitations of endonasal endoscopic surgery for approaching lesions in the ventral portion of the brainstem.

METHODS

Five human cadaveric heads were used to assess the anatomy and to record various measurements. Extended transsphenoidal and transclival approaches were performed. After exposing the brainstem, white matter dissection was attempted through this endoscopic window, and additional key measurements were taken.

RESULTS

The rostral exposure of the brainstem was limited by the sella. The lateral limits of the exposure were the intracavernous carotid arteries at the level of the sellar floor, the intrapetrous carotid arteries at the level of the petrous apex, and the inferior petrosal sinuses toward the basion. Caudal extension necessitated partial resection of the anterior C-1 arch and the odontoid process. The midline pons and medulla were exposed in all specimens. Trigeminal nerves were barely visible without the use of angled endoscopes. Access to the peritrigeminal safe zone for gaining entry into the brainstem is medially limited by the pyramidal tract, with a mean lateral pyramidal distance (LPD) of 4.8 ± 0.8 mm. The mean interpyramidal distance was 3.6 ± 0.5 mm, and it progressively decreased toward the pontomedullary junction. The corticospinal tracts (CSTs) coursed from deep to superficial in a craniocaudal direction. The small caliber of the medulla with very superficial CSTs left no room for a safe ventral dissection. The mean pontobasilar midline index averaged at 0.44 ± 0.1.

CONCLUSIONS

Endoscopic endonasal approaches are best suited for pontine intraaxial tumors when they are close to the midline and strictly anterior to the CST, or for exophytic lesions. Approaching the medulla is anatomically feasible, but the superficiality of the eloquent tracts and interposed nerves limit the safe entry zones. Pituitary transposition after sellar opening is necessary to access the mesencephalon.

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Kaan Yagmurlu, M. Yashar S. Kalani, Mark C. Preul, and Robert F. Spetzler

The authors describe a safe entry zone, the superior fovea triangle, on the floor of the fourth ventricle for resection of deep dorsal pontine lesions at the level of the facial colliculus. Clinical data from a patient undergoing a suboccipital telovelar transsuperior fovea triangle approach to a deep pontine cavernous malformation were reviewed and supplemented with 6 formalin-fixed adult human brainstem and 2 silicone-injected adult human cadaveric heads using the fiber dissection technique to illustrate the utility of this novel safe entry zone. The superior fovea has a triangular shape that is an important landmark for the motor nucleus of the trigeminal, abducens, and facial nerves. The inferior half of the superior fovea triangle may be incised to remove deep dorsal pontine lesions through the floor of the fourth ventricle. The superior fovea triangle may be used as a safe entry zone for dorsally located lesions at the level of the facial colliculus.

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Osamu Akiyama, Ken Matsushima, Abuzer Gungor, Satoshi Matsuo, Dylan J. Goodrich, R. Shane Tubbs, Paul Klimo Jr., Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol, Hajime Arai, and Albert L. Rhoton Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Approaches to the pulvinar remain challenging because of the depth of the target, surrounding critical neural structures, and complicated arterial and venous relationships. The purpose of this study was to compare the surgical approaches to different parts of the pulvinar and to examine the efficacy of the endoscope as an adjunct to the operating microscope in this area.

METHODS

The pulvinar was examined in 6 formalin-fixed human cadaveric heads through 5 approaches: 4 above and 1 below the tentorium. Each approach was performed using both the surgical microscope and 0° or 45° rigid endoscopes.

RESULTS

The pulvinar has a lateral ventricular and a medial cisternal surface that are separated by the fornix and the choroidal fissure, which wrap around the posterior surface of the pulvinar. The medial cisternal part of the pulvinar can be further divided into upper and lower parts. The superior parietal lobule approach is suitable for lesions in the upper ventricular and cisternal parts. Interhemispheric precuneus and posterior transcallosal approaches are suitable for lesions in the part of the pulvinar forming the anterior wall of the atrium and adjacent cisternal part. The posterior interhemispheric transtentorial approach is suitable for lesions in the lower cisternal part and the supracerebellar infratentorial approach is suitable for lesions in the inferior and medial cisternal parts.

The microscope provided satisfactory views of the ventricular and cisternal surfaces of the pulvinar and adjacent neural and vascular structures. The endoscope provided multi-angled and wider views of the pulvinar and adjacent structures.

CONCLUSIONS

A combination of endoscopic and microsurgical techniques allows optimal exposure of the pulvinar.

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Kaan Yagmurlu, Sam Safavi-Abbasi, Evgenii Belykh, M. Yashar S. Kalani, Peter Nakaji, Albert L. Rhoton Jr., Robert F. Spetzler, and Mark C. Preul

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this investigation was to modify the mini-pterional and mini-orbitozygomatic (mini-OZ) approaches in order to reduce the amount of tissue traumatization caused and to compare the use of the 2 approaches in the removal of circle of Willis aneurysms based on the authors' clinical experience and quantitative analysis.

METHODS

Three formalin-fixed adult cadaveric heads injected with colored silicone were examined. Surgical freedom and angle of attack of the mini-pterional and mini-OZ approaches were measured at 9 anatomical points, and the measurements were compared. The authors also retrospectively reviewed the cases of 396 patients with ruptured and unruptured single aneurysms in the circle of Willis treated by microsurgical techniques at their institution between January 2006 and November 2014.

RESULTS

A significant difference in surgical freedom was found in favor of the mini-pterional approach for access to the ipsilateral internal carotid artery (ICA) and middle cerebral artery (MCA) bifurcations, the most distal point of the ipsilateral posterior cerebral artery (PCA), and the basilar artery (BA) tip. No statistically significant differences were found between the mini-pterional and mini-OZ approaches for access to the posterior clinoid process, the most distal point of the superior cerebellar artery (SCA), the anterior communicating artery (ACoA), the contralateral ICA bifurcation, and the most distal point of the contralateral MCA. A trend toward increasing surgical freedom was found for the mini-OZ approach to the ACoA and the contralateral ICA bifurcation. The lengths exposed through the mini-OZ approach were longer than those exposed by the mini-pterional approach for the ipsilateral PCA segment (11.5 ± 1.9 mm) between the BA and the most distal point of the P2 segment of the PCA, for the ipsilateral SCA (10.5 ± 1.1 mm) between the BA and the most distal point of the SCA, and for the contralateral anterior cerebral artery (ACA) (21 ± 6.1 mm) between the ICA bifurcation and the most distal point of the A2 segment of the ACA. The exposed length of the contralateral MCA (24.2 ± 8.6 mm) between the contralateral ICA bifurcation and the most distal point of the MCA segment was longer through the mini-pterional approach. The vertical angle of attack (anteroposterior direction) was significantly greater with the mini-pterional approach than with the mini-OZ approach, except in the ACoA and contralateral ICA bifurcation. The horizontal angle of attack (mediolateral direction) was similar with both approaches, except in the ACoA, contralateral ICA bifurcation, and contralateral MCA bifurcation, where the angle was significantly increased in the mini-OZ approach.

CONCLUSIONS

The mini-pterional and mini-OZ approaches, as currently performed in select patients, provide less tissue traumatization (i.e., less temporal muscle manipulation, less brain parenchyma retraction) from the skin to the aneurysm than standard approaches. Anatomical quantitative analysis showed that the mini-OZ approach provides better exposure to the contralateral side for controlling the contralateral parent arteries and multiple aneurysms. The mini-pterional approach has greater surgical freedom (maneuverability) for ipsilateral circle of Willis aneurysms.

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João Luiz Vitorino Araujo, José C. E. Veiga, Hung Tzu Wen, Almir F. de Andrade, Manoel J. Teixeira, José P. Otoch, Albert L. Rhoton Jr., Mark C. Preul, Robert F. Spetzler, and Eberval G. Figueiredo

OBJECTIVE

Access to the third ventricle is a veritable challenge to neurosurgeons. In this context, anatomical and morphometric studies are useful for establishing the limitations and advantages of a particular surgical approach. The transchoroidal approach is versatile and provides adequate exposure of the middle and posterior regions of the third ventricle. However, the fornix column limits the exposure of the anterior region of the third ventricle. There is evidence that the unilateral section of the fornix column has little effect on cognitive function. This study compared the anatomical exposure afforded by the transforniceal-transchoroidal approach with that of the transchoroidal approach. In addition, a morphometric evaluation of structures that are relevant to and common in the 2 approaches was performed.

METHODS

The anatomical exposure provided by the transcallosal-transchoroidal and transcallosal-transforniceal-transchoroidal approaches was compared in 8 fresh cadavers, using a neuronavigation system. The working area, microsurgical exposure area, and angular exposure on the longitudinal and transversal planes of 2 anatomical targets (tuber cinereum and cerebral aqueduct) were compared. Additionally, the thickness of the right frontal lobe parenchyma, thickness of the corpus callosum trunk, and longitudinal diameter of the interventricular foramen were measured. The values obtained were submitted to statistical analysis using the Wilcoxon test.

RESULTS

In the quantitative evaluation, compared with the transchoroidal approach, the transforniceal-transchoroidal approach provided a greater mean working area (transforniceal-transchoroidal 150 ± 11 mm2; transchoroidal 121 ± 8 mm2; p < 0.05), larger mean microsurgical exposure area (transforniceal-transchoroidal 101 ± 9 mm2; transchoroidal 80 ± 5 mm2; p < 0.05), larger mean angular exposure area on the longitudinal plane for the tuber cinereum (transforniceal-transchoroidal 71° ± 7°; transchoroidal 64° ± 6°; p < 0.05), and larger mean angular exposure area on the longitudinal plane for the cerebral aqueduct (transforniceal-transchoroidal 62° ± 6°; transchoroidal 55° ± 5°; p < 0.05). No differences were observed in angular exposure along the transverse axis for either anatomical target (tuber cinereum and cerebral aqueduct; p > 0.05). The mean thickness of the right frontal lobe parenchyma was 35 ± 3 mm, the mean thickness of the corpus callosum trunk was 10 ± 1 mm, and the mean longitudinal diameter of the interventricular foramen was 4.6 ± 0.4 mm. In the qualitative assessment, it was noted that the transforniceal-transchoroidal approach led to greater exposure of the third ventricle anterior region structures. There was no difference between approaches in the exposure of the structures of the middle and posterior region.

CONCLUSIONS

The transforniceal-transchoroidal approach provides greater surgical exposure of the third ventricle anterior region than that offered by the transchoroidal approach. In the population studied, morphometric analysis established mean values for anatomical structures common to both approaches.

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Jian Wang, Fumitaka Yoshioka, Wonil Joo, Noritaka Komune, Vicent Quilis-Quesada, and Albert L. Rhoton Jr.

OBJECTIVE

The object of this study was to examine the relationships of the cochlea as a guide for avoiding both cochlear damage with loss of hearing in middle fossa approaches and injury to adjacent structures in approaches directed through the cochlea.

METHODS

Twenty adult cadaveric middle fossae were examined using magnifications of ×3 to ×40.

RESULTS

The cochlea sits below the floor of the middle fossa in the area between and below the labyrinthine segment of the facial nerve and greater petrosal nerve (GPN) and adjacent to the lateral genu of the petrous carotid. Approximately one-third of the cochlea extends below the medial edge of the labyrinthine segment of the facial nerve, geniculate ganglion, and proximal part of the GPN. The medial part of the basal and middle turns are the parts at greatest risk in drilling the floor of the middle fossa to expose the nerves in middle fossa approaches to the internal acoustic meatus and in anterior petrosectomy approaches. Resection of the cochlea is used selectively in extending approaches through the mastoid toward the lateral edge of the clivus and front of the brainstem.

CONCLUSIONS

An understanding of the location and relationships of the cochlea will reduce the likelihood of cochlear damage with hearing loss in approaches directed through the middle fossa and reduce the incidence of injury to adjacent structures in approaches directed through the cochlea.

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Ali Tayebi Meybodi, Michael T. Lawton, Halima Tabani, and Arnau Benet

OBJECTIVE

Surgical access to the lateral recess of the fourth ventricle (LR) is suboptimal with existing transvermian and telovelar approaches because of limited lateral exposure, significant retraction of the cerebellar tonsil, and steep trajectories near brainstem perforator arteries. The goal in this study was to assess surgical exposure of the tonsillobiventral fissure approach to the LR, and to describe the relevant anatomy.

METHODS

Two formaldehyde-fixed cerebella were used to study the anatomical relationships of the LR. Also, the tonsillobiventral fissure approach was simulated in 8 specimens through a lateral suboccipital craniotomy.

RESULTS

The pattern of the cerebellar folia and the cortical branches of the posterior inferior cerebellar artery were key landmarks to identifying the tonsillobiventral fissure. Splitting the tonsillobiventral fissure allowed a direct and safe surgical trajectory to the LR and into the cerebellopontine cistern. The proposed approach reduces cervical flexion and optimizes the surgical angle of attack.

CONCLUSIONS

The tonsillobiventral fissure approach is a feasible and effective option for exposing the LR. This approach has more favorable trajectories and positions for the patient and the surgeon, and it should be added to the armamentarium for lesions in this location.