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Endonasal, supraorbital, and transorbital approaches: minimal access endoscope-assisted surgical approaches for meningiomas in the anterior and middle cranial fossae

Joseph A. Carnevale, Abhinav Pandey, Cristopher Ramirez-Loera, Jacob L. Goldberg, Evan D. Bander, Fraser Henderson Jr., Sumit N. Niogi, Abtin Tabaee, Ashutosh Kacker, Vijay K. Anand, Andrew Kim, Apostolos John Tsiouris, Kyle J. Godfrey, and Theodore H. Schwartz


Minimally invasive endoscope-assisted approaches to the anterior skull base offer an alternative to traditional open craniotomies. Given the restrictive operative corridor, appropriate case selection is critical for success. In this paper, the authors present the results of three different minimal access approaches to meningiomas of the anterior and middle fossae and examine the differences in the target areas considered appropriate for each approach, as well as the outcomes, to determine whether the surgical goals were achieved.


A consecutive series of the endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA), supraorbital approach (SOA), or transorbital approach (TOA) for newly diagnosed meningiomas of the anterior and middle fossa skull base between 2007 and 2022 were examined. Probabilistic heat maps were created to display the distribution of tumor volumes for each approach. Gross-total resection (GTR), extent of resection, visual and olfactory outcomes, and postoperative complications were assessed.


Of 525 patients who had meningioma resection, 88 (16.7%) were included in this study. EEA was performed for planum sphenoidale and tuberculum sellae meningiomas (n = 44), SOA for olfactory groove and anterior clinoid meningiomas (n = 36), and TOA for spheno-orbital and middle fossa meningiomas (n = 8). The largest tumors were treated using SOA (mean volume 28 ± 29 cm3), followed by TOA (mean volume 10 ± 10 cm3) and EEA (mean volume 9 ± 8 cm3) (p = 0.024). Most cases (91%) were WHO grade I. GTR was achieved in 84% of patients (n = 74), which was similar to the rates for EEA (84%) and SOA (92%), but lower than that for TOA (50%) (p = 0.002), the latter attributable to spheno-orbital (GTR: 33%) not middle fossa (GTR: 100%) tumors. There were 7 (8%) CSF leaks: 5 (11%) from EEA, 1 (3%) from SOA, and 1 (13%) from TOA (p = 0.326). All resolved with lumbar drainage except for 1 EEA leak that required a reoperation.


Minimally invasive approaches for anterior and middle fossa skull base meningiomas require careful case selection. GTR rates are equally high for all approaches except for spheno-orbital meningiomas, where alleviation of proptosis and not GTR is the primary goal of surgery. New anosmia was most common after EEA.