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The medial wall of the cavernous sinus. Part 1: Surgical anatomy, ligaments, and surgical technique for its mobilization and/or resection

Huy Q. Truong, Stefan Lieber, Edinson Najera, Joao T. Alves-Belo, Paul A. Gardner, and Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda

OBJECTIVE

The medial wall of the cavernous sinus (CS) is often invaded by pituitary adenomas. Surgical mobilization and/or removal of the medial wall remains a challenge.

METHODS

Endoscopic endonasal dissection was performed in 20 human cadaver heads. The configuration of the medial wall, its relationship to the internal carotid artery (ICA), and the ligamentous connections in between them were investigated in 40 CSs.

RESULTS

The medial wall of the CS was confirmed to be an intact single layer of dura that is distinct from the capsule of the pituitary gland and the periosteal layer that forms the anterior wall of the CS. In 32.5% of hemispheres, the medial wall was indented by and/or well adhered to the cavernous ICA. The authors identified multiple ligamentous fibers that anchored the medial wall to other walls of the CS and/or to specific ICA segments. These parasellar ligaments were classified into 4 groups: 1) caroticoclinoid ligament, spanning from the medial wall and the middle clinoid toward the clinoid ICA segment and anterior clinoid process; 2) superior parasellar ligament, connecting the medial wall to the horizontal cavernous ICA and/or lateral wall of the CS; 3) inferior parasellar ligament, bridging the medial wall to the anterior wall of the CS or anterior surface of the short vertical segment of the cavernous ICA; and 4) posterior parasellar ligament, which anchors the medial wall to the short vertical segment of the cavernous ICA and/or the posterior carotid sulcus. The caroticoclinoid ligament and inferior parasellar ligament were present in most CSs (97.7% and 95%, respectively), while the superior and posterior parasellar ligaments were identified in approximately half of the CSs (57.5% and 45%, respectively). The caroticoclinoid ligament was the strongest and largest ligament, and it was typically assembled as a group of ligaments with a fan-like arrangement. The inferior parasellar ligament was the first to be encountered after opening the anterior wall of the CS during an interdural transcavernous approach.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors introduce a classification of the parasellar ligaments and their role in anchoring the medial wall of the CS. These ligaments should be identified and transected to safely mobilize the medial wall away from the cavernous ICA during a transcavernous approach and for safe and complete resection of adenomas that selectively invade the medial wall.

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Quantitative analysis of the surgical exposure and surgical freedom between transcranial and transorbital endoscopic anterior petrosectomies to the posterior fossa

Raywat Noiphithak, Juan C. Yanez-Siller, Juan Manuel Revuelta Barbero, Bradley A. Otto, Ricardo L. Carrau, and Daniel M. Prevedello

OBJECT

This study proposes a variation of the transorbital endoscopic approach (TOEA) that uses the lateral orbit as the primary surgical corridor, in a minimally invasive fashion, for the posterior fossa (PF) access. The versatility of this technique was quantitatively analyzed in comparison with the anterior transpetrosal approach (ATPA), which is commonly used for managing lesions in the PF.

METHODS

Anatomical dissections were carried out in 5 latex-injected human cadaveric heads (10 sides). During dissection, the PF was first accessed by TOEAs through the anterior petrosectomy, both with and without lateral orbital rim osteotomies (herein referred as the lateral transorbital approach [LTOA] and the lateral orbital wall approach [LOWA], respectively). ATPAs were performed following the orbital approaches. The stereotactic measurements of the area of exposure, surgical freedom, and angles of attack to 5 anatomical targets were obtained for statistical comparison by the neuronavigator.

RESULTS

The LTOA provided the smallest area of exposure (1.51 ± 0.5 cm2, p = 0.07), while areas of exposure were similar between LOWA and ATPA (1.99 ± 0.7 cm2 and 2.01 ± 1.0 cm2, respectively; p = 0.99). ATPA had the largest surgical freedom, whereas that of LTOA was the most restricted. Similarly, for all targets, the vertical and horizontal angles of attack achieved with ATPA were significantly broader than those achieved with LTOA. However, in LOWA, the removal of the lateral orbital rim allowed a broader range of movement in the horizontal plane, thus granting a similar horizontal angle for 3 of the 5 targets in comparison with ATPA.

CONCLUSIONS

The TOEAs using the lateral orbital corridor for PF access are feasible techniques that may provide a comparable surgical exposure to the ATPA. Furthermore, the removal of the orbital rim showed an additional benefit in an enhancement of the surgical maneuverability in the PF.

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Surgical anatomy of the superior hypophyseal artery and its relevance for endoscopic endonasal surgery

Huy Q. Truong, Edinson Najera, Robert Zanabria-Ortiz, Emrah Celtikci, Xicai Sun, Hamid Borghei-Razavi, Paul A. Gardner, and Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda

OBJECTIVE

The endoscopic endonasal approach has become a routine corridor to the suprasellar region. The superior hypophyseal arteries (SHAs) are intimately related to lesions in the suprasellar space, such as craniopharyngiomas and meningiomas. Here the authors investigate the surgical anatomy and variations of the SHA from the endoscopic endonasal perspective.

METHODS

Thirty anatomical specimens with vascular injection were used for endoscopic endonasal dissection. The number of SHAs and their origin, course, branching, anastomoses, and areas of supply were collected and analyzed.

RESULTS

A total of 110 SHAs arising from 60 internal carotid arteries (ICAs), or 1.83 SHAs per ICA (range 0–3), were found. The most proximal SHA always ran in the preinfundibular space and provided the major blood supply to the infundibulum, optic chiasm, and proximal optic nerve; it was defined as the primary SHA (pSHA). The more distal SHA(s), present in 78.3% of sides, ran in the retroinfundibular space and supplied the stalk and may also supply the tuber cinereum and optic tracts. In the two sides (3.3%) in which no SHA was present, the territory was covered by a pair of infundibular arteries originating from the posterior communicating artery. Two-thirds of the pSHAs originated proximal to the distal dural ring; half of these arose from the carotid cave portion of the ICA, whereas the other half originated proximal to the cave. Four branching patterns of the pSHA were recognized, with the most common pattern (41.7%) consisting of three or more branches with a tree-like pattern. Descending branches were absent in 25% of cases. Preinfundibular anastomoses between pSHAs were found in all specimens. Anastomoses between the pSHA and the secondary SHA (sSHA) or the infundibular arteries were found in 75% cases.

CONCLUSIONS

The first SHA almost always supplies the infundibulum, optic chiasm, and proximal optic nerve and represents the pSHA. Compromising this artery can cause a visual deficit. Unilateral injury to the pSHA is less likely to cause an endocrine deficit given the artery’s abundant anastomoses. A detailed understanding of the surgical anatomy of the SHA and its many variations may help surgeons when approaching challenging lesions in the suprasellar region.

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The pterygoclival ligament: a novel landmark for localization of the internal carotid artery during the endoscopic endonasal approach

Ali Tayebi Meybodi, Andrew S. Little, Vera Vigo, Arnau Benet, Sofia Kakaizada, and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

The transpterygoid extension of the endoscopic endonasal approach provides exposure of the petrous apex, Meckel’s cave, paraclival area, and the infratemporal fossa. Safe and efficient localization of the lacerum segment of the internal carotid artery (ICA) is a crucial part of such exposure. The aim of this study is to introduce a novel landmark for localization of the lacerum ICA.

METHODS

Ten cadaveric heads were prepared for transnasal endoscopic dissection. The floor of the sphenoid sinus was drilled to expose an extension of the pharyngobasilar fascia between the sphenoid floor and the pterygoid process (the pterygoclival ligament). Several features of the pterygoclival ligament were assessed. In addition, 31 dry skulls were studied to assess features of the bony groove harboring the pterygoclival ligament.

RESULTS

The pterygoclival ligament was identified bilaterally during drilling of the sphenoid floor in all specimens. The ligament started a few millimeters posterior to the posterior end of the vomer alae and invariably extended posterolaterally and superiorly to blend into the fibrous tissue around the lacerum ICA. The mean length of the ligament was 10.5 ± 1.7 mm. The mean distance between the anterior end of the ligament and midline was 5.2 ± 1.2 mm. The mean distance between the posterior end of the ligament and midline was 12.3 ± 1.4 mm. The bony pterygoclival groove was identified at the confluence of the vomer, pterygoid process of the sphenoid, and basilar part of the occipital bone, running from posterolateral to anteromedial. The mean length of the groove was 7.7 ± 1.8 mm. Its posterolateral end faced the anteromedial aspect of the foramen lacerum medial to the posterior end of the vidian canal. A clinical case illustration is also provided.

CONCLUSIONS

The pterygoclival ligament is a consistent landmark for localization of the lacerum ICA. It may be used as an adjunct or alternative to the vidian nerve to localize the ICA during endoscopic endonasal surgery.

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Defining the relationship of the optic radiation to the roof and floor of the ventricular atrium: a focused microanatomical study

Christos Koutsarnakis, Aristotelis V. Kalyvas, Spyridon Komaitis, Faidon Liakos, Georgios P. Skandalakis, Christos Anagnostopoulos, and George Stranjalis

OBJECTIVE

The authors investigated the specific topographic relationship of the optic radiation fibers to the roof and floor of the ventricular atrium because the current literature is ambiguous.

METHODS

Thirty-five normal, adult, formalin-fixed cerebral hemispheres and 30 focused MRI slices at the level of the atrium were included in the study. The correlative anatomy of the optic radiation with regard to the atrial roof and floor was investigated in 15 specimens, each through focused fiber microdissections. The remaining 5 hemispheres were explored with particular emphasis on the trajectory of the collateral sulcus in relation to the floor of the atrium. In addition, the trajectory of the collateral sulcus was evaluated in 30 MRI scans.

RESULTS

The atrial roof was observed to be devoid of optic radiations in all studied hemispheres, whereas the atrial floor was seen to harbor optic fibers on its lateral part. Moreover, the trajectory of the intraparietal sulcus, when followed, was always seen to correspond to the roof of the atrium, thus avoiding the optic pathway, whereas that of the collateral sulcus was found to lead to either the lateral atrial floor or outside the ventricle in 88% of the cases, therefore hitting the visual pathway.

CONCLUSIONS

Operative corridors accessing the ventricular atrium should be carefully tailored through detailed preoperative planning and effective use of intraoperative navigation to increase patient safety and enhance the surgeon’s maneuverability. The authors strongly emphasize the significance of accurate anatomical knowledge.

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Microsurgical anatomy of the subthalamic nucleus: correlating fiber dissection results with 3-T magnetic resonance imaging using neuronavigation

Abuzer Güngör, Şevki Serhat Baydın, Vanessa M. Holanda, Erik H. Middlebrooks, Cihan Isler, Bekir Tugcu, Kelly Foote, and Necmettin Tanriover

OBJECTIVE

Despite the extensive use of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) as a deep brain stimulation (DBS) target, unveiling the extensive functional connectivity of the nucleus, relating its structural connectivity to the stimulation-induced adverse effects, and thus optimizing the STN targeting still remain challenging. Mastering the 3D anatomy of the STN region should be the fundamental goal to achieve ideal surgical results, due to the deep-seated and obscure position of the nucleus, variable shape and relatively small size, oblique orientation, and extensive structural connectivity. In the present study, the authors aimed to delineate the 3D anatomy of the STN and unveil the complex relationship between the anatomical structures within the STN region using fiber dissection technique, 3D reconstructions of high-resolution MRI, and fiber tracking using diffusion tractography utilizing a generalized q-sampling imaging (GQI) model.

METHODS

Fiber dissection was performed in 20 hemispheres and 3 cadaveric heads using the Klingler method. Fiber dissections of the brain were performed from all orientations in a stepwise manner to reveal the 3D anatomy of the STN. In addition, 3 brains were cut into 5-mm coronal, axial, and sagittal slices to show the sectional anatomy. GQI data were also used to elucidate the connections among hubs within the STN region.

RESULTS

The study correlated the results of STN fiber dissection with those of 3D MRI reconstruction and tractography using neuronavigation. A 3D terrain model of the subthalamic area encircling the STN was built to clarify its anatomical relations with the putamen, globus pallidus internus, globus pallidus externus, internal capsule, caudate nucleus laterally, substantia nigra inferiorly, zona incerta superiorly, and red nucleus medially. The authors also describe the relationship of the medial lemniscus, oculomotor nerve fibers, and the medial forebrain bundle with the STN using tractography with a 3D STN model.

CONCLUSIONS

This study examines the complex 3D anatomy of the STN and peri-subthalamic area. In comparison with previous clinical data on STN targeting, the results of this study promise further understanding of the structural connections of the STN, the exact location of the fiber compositions within the region, and clinical applications such as stimulation-induced adverse effects during DBS targeting.

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The subatlantic triangle: gateway to early localization of the atlantoaxial vertebral artery

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.

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The microneurosurgical anatomy legacy of Albert L. Rhoton Jr., MD: an analysis of transition and evolution over 50 years

Toshio Matsushima, Ken Matsushima, Shigeaki Kobayashi, J. Richard Lister, and Jacques J. Morcos

Dr. Albert L. Rhoton Jr. was a pioneer of the study of microneurosurgical anatomy. Championing this field over the past half century, he produced more than 500 publications. In this paper, the authors review his body of work, focusing on approximately 160 original articles authored by Rhoton and his microneuroanatomy fellows. The articles are categorized chronologically into 5 stages: 1) dawn of microneurosurgical anatomy, 2) study of basic anatomy for general neurosurgery, 3) study for skull base surgery, 4) study of the internal structures of the brain by fiber dissection, and 5) surgical anatomy dealing with new advanced surgical approaches. Rhoton introduced many new research ideas and surgical techniques and approaches, along with better microsurgery instruments, through studying and teaching microsurgical anatomy, especially during the first stage. The characteristic features of each stage are explained and the transition phases of his projects are reviewed.

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Microsurgical anatomy and approaches around the lateral recess with special reference to entry into the pons

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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The interpeduncular fossa approach for resection of ventromedial midbrain lesions

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.