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Fuminari Komatsu, Masaaki Imai, Hideaki Shigematsu, Rie Aoki, Shinri Oda, Masami Shimoda, and Mitsunori Matsumae

The authors’ initial experience with the endoscopic extradural supraorbital approach to the temporal pole and adjacent area is reported. Fully endoscopic surgery using the extradural space via a supraorbital keyhole was performed for tumors in or around the temporal pole, including temporal pole cavernous angioma, sphenoid ridge meningioma, and cavernous sinus pituitary adenoma, mainly using 4-mm, 0° and 30° endoscopes and single-shaft instruments. After making a supraorbital keyhole, a 4-mm, 30° endoscope was advanced into the extradural space of the anterior cranial fossa during lifting of the dura mater. Following identification of the sphenoid ridge, orbital roof, and anterior clinoid process, the bone lateral to the orbital roof was drilled off until the dura mater of the anterior aspect of the temporal lobe was exposed. The dura mater of the temporal lobe was incised and opened, exposing the temporal pole under a 4-mm, 0° endoscope. Tumors in or around the temporal pole were safely removed under a superb view through the extradural corridor. The endoscopic extradural supraorbital approach was technically feasible and safe. The anterior trajectory to the temporal pole using the extradural space under endoscopy provided excellent visibility, allowing minimally invasive surgery. Further surgical experience and development of specialized instruments would promote this approach as an alternative surgical option.

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Jacob L. Freeman, Raghuram Sampath, Steven Craig Quattlebaum, Michael A. Casey, Zach A. Folzenlogen, Vijay R. Ramakrishnan, and A. Samy Youssef

OBJECTIVE

The endoscopic endonasal transmaxillary transpterygoid (TMTP) approach has been the gateway for lateral skull base exposure. Removal of the cartilaginous eustachian tube (ET) and lateral mobilization of the internal carotid artery (ICA) are technically demanding adjunctive steps that are used to access the petroclival region. The gained expansion of the deep working corridor provided by these maneuvers has yet to be quantified.

METHODS

The TMTP approach with cartilaginous ET removal and ICA mobilization was performed in 5 adult cadaveric heads (10 sides). Accessible portions of the petrous apex were drilled during the following 3 stages: 1) before ET removal, 2) after ET removal but before ICA mobilization, and 3) after ET removal and ICA repositioning. Resection volumes were calculated using 3D reconstructions generated from thin-slice CT scans obtained before and after each step of the dissection.

RESULTS

The average petrous temporal bone resection volumes at each stage were 0.21 cm3, 0.71 cm3, and 1.32 cm3 (p < 0.05, paired t-test). Without ET removal, inferior and superior access to the petrous apex was limited. Furthermore, without ICA mobilization, drilling was confined to the inferior two-thirds of the petrous apex. After mobilization, the resection was extended superiorly through the upper extent of the petrous apex.

CONCLUSIONS

The transpterygoid corridor to the petroclival region is maximally expanded by the resection of the cartilaginous ET and mobilization of the paraclival ICA. These added maneuvers expanded the deep window almost 6 times and provided more lateral access to the petroclival region with a maximum volume of 1.5 cm3. This may result in the ability to resect small-to-moderate sized intradural petroclival lesions up to that volume. Larger lesions may better be approached through an open transcranial approach.

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Kelsey Alabaster, M. Fred Bugg, Bruno Splavski, Frederick A. Boop, and Kenan I. Arnautovic

OBJECTIVE

A fibrous structure located dorsal to the dura at the posterior craniocervical junction stretches horizontally between the bilateral occipital condyles and the upper borders of the C-1 laminae. Partially covered by the occipital bone, this structure is always encountered when the bone is removed from the foramen magnum rim during approaches to the posterior cranial fossa. Although known to surgeons, this structure has not been defined, studied, or named. The most appropriate name for this structure is “the suboccipital ligament,” and a detailed rationale for this name is provided.

METHODS

This 3-year-long study included 10 cadaveric specimens and 39 clinical patients: 31 consecutive surgically treated patients with Chiari Type I malformations (CM-I subgroup) and 8 other patients with posterior fossa pathologies (non–CM-I subgroup). The dimensions were defined, the function of this ligament was hypothesized, size and histological composition were compared between patient subgroups, and its origin and relationship to the surrounding structures were analyzed. Possible statistical differences in the parameters between the 2 groups were also evaluated.

RESULTS

The suboccipital ligament consists of horizontally oriented hyaline fibers and has a median length of 35 mm, height of 10 mm, and thickness of 0.5 mm. These dimensions are not significantly different between the CM-I and non–CM-I patients. The median age of the patients was 43 years, with CM-I patients being significantly younger (median 35 years) than non–CM-I patients (median 57 years). There was no statistically significant difference in weight, height, and body mass index between patient subgroups. There was no significant correlation between the body mass index or height of the patients and the dimensions of the ligament. No statistically significant differences existed between the subgroups in terms of smoking history, alcohol consumption, and the presence of diabetes mellitus, hypertension, hydrocephalus, or headaches. The ligament tissue in the CM-I patients was disorganized with poorly arranged collagen bands and interspersed adipose tissue. These patients also had more hyalinized fibrosis and showed changes in the direction of fibers, with hyaline nodules ranging from 0 to 2+. The result of the histological evaluation of the suboccipital ligament for hyaline nodules, calcification, and ossification was graded as 2+ if present in 3 or more medium-power magnification fields (MPFs); 1+ if present in 1–2 MPFs; and 0, if present in less than 1 MPF. Histological examination of the ligaments showed structural differences between CM-I and non–CM-I patients, most notably the presence of hyaline nodules and an altered fiber orientation in CM-I patients.

CONCLUSIONS

The suboccipital ligament extends between the occipital condyle and the superior edge of the C-1 lamina, connecting the contralateral sides, and appears to function as a real ligament. It is ventral to the occipital bone, which covers approximately two-thirds of the height of the ligament and is loosely attached to the dura medially and more firmly laterally. Because of its distinctive anatomy, characteristics, and function, the suboccipital ligament deserves its own uniform designation and name.

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M. Yashar S. Kalani, Kaan Yağmurlu, and Robert F. Spetzler

The authors describe the interpeduncular fossa safe entry zone as a route for resection of ventromedial midbrain lesions. To illustrate the utility of this novel safe entry zone, the authors provide clinical data from 2 patients who underwent contralateral orbitozygomatic transinterpeduncular fossa approaches to deep cavernous malformations located medial to the oculomotor nerve (cranial nerve [CN] III). These cases are supplemented by anatomical information from 6 formalin-fixed adult human brainstems and 4 silicone-injected adult human cadaveric heads on which the fiber dissection technique was used.

The interpeduncular fossa may be incised to resect anteriorly located lesions that are medial to the oculomotor nerve and can serve as an alternative to the anterior mesencephalic safe entry zone (i.e., perioculomotor safe entry zone) for resection of ventromedial midbrain lesions. The interpeduncular fossa safe entry zone is best approached using a modified orbitozygomatic craniotomy and uses the space between the mammillary bodies and the top of the basilar artery to gain access to ventromedial lesions located in the ventral mesencephalon and medial to the oculomotor nerve.

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Abuzer Güngör, Serhat Baydin, Erik H. Middlebrooks, Necmettin Tanriover, Cihan Isler, and Albert L. Rhoton Jr.

OBJECTIVE

The relationship of the white matter tracts to the lateral ventricles is important when planning surgical approaches to the ventricles and in understanding the symptoms of hydrocephalus. The authors' aim was to explore the relationship of the white matter tracts of the cerebrum to the lateral ventricles using fiber dissection technique and MR tractography and to discuss these findings in relation to approaches to ventricular lesions.

METHODS

Forty adult human formalin-fixed cadaveric hemispheres (20 brains) and 3 whole heads were examined using fiber dissection technique. The dissections were performed from lateral to medial, medial to lateral, superior to inferior, and inferior to superior. MR tractography showing the lateral ventricles aided in the understanding of the 3D relationships of the white matter tracts with the lateral ventricles.

RESULTS

The relationship between the lateral ventricles and the superior longitudinal I, II, and III, arcuate, vertical occipital, middle longitudinal, inferior longitudinal, inferior frontooccipital, uncinate, sledge runner, and lingular amygdaloidal fasciculi; and the anterior commissure fibers, optic radiations, internal capsule, corona radiata, thalamic radiations, cingulum, corpus callosum, fornix, caudate nucleus, thalamus, stria terminalis, and stria medullaris thalami were defined anatomically and radiologically. These fibers and structures have a consistent relationship to the lateral ventricles.

CONCLUSIONS

Knowledge of the relationship of the white matter tracts of the cerebrum to the lateral ventricles should aid in planning more accurate surgery for lesions within the lateral ventricles.

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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.