The endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) has been shown to be an effective means of accessing lesions of the petrous apex. Lesions that are lateral to the paraclival segment of the internal carotid artery (ICA) require lateralization of the paraclival segment of the ICA or a transpterygoid infrapetrous approach. In this study the authors studied the feasibility of adding a contralateral transmaxillary (CTM) corridor to provide greater access to the petrous apex with decreased need for manipulation of the ICA.
Using image guidance, EEA and CTM extension were performed bilaterally on 5 cadavers. The anterior wall of the sphenoid sinus and rostrum were removed. The angle of the surgical approach from the axis of the petrous segment of the ICA was measured. Five illustrative clinical cases are presented.
The CTM corridor required a partial medial maxillectomy. When measured from the axis of the petrous ICA, the CTM corridor decreased the angle from 44.8° ± 2.78° to 20.1° ± 4.31°, a decrease of 24.7° ± 2.58°. Drilling through the CTM corridor allowed the drill to reach lateral aspects of the petrous apex that would have required lateralization of the ICA or would not have been accessible via EEA. The CTM corridor allowed us to achieve gross-total resection of the petrous apex region in 5 clinical cases with significant paraclival extension.
The CTM corridor is a feasible extension to the standard EEA to the petrous apex that offers a more lateral trajectory with improved access. This approach may reduce the risk and morbidity associated with manipulation of the paraclival ICA.