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Ken Matsushima, Michihiro Kohno and Helmut Bertalanffy

Hemorrhagic brainstem cavernous malformations carry a high risk of progressive neurological deficits owing to recurrent hemorrhages and hence require complete surgical resection while minimizing damage to the dense concentration of nuclei and fibers inside the brainstem. To access lesions inside the lower pons, the senior author (H.B.) has preferred to approach the lesions via the “perifacial zone” through the pontomedullary sulcus from the inferior surface of the pontine bulge for more than 20 years.1,2 This video demonstrates a case of a cavernous malformation inside the lower pons, which was surgically treated via the pontomedullary junction through the retrosigmoid supracondylar approach in a half-sitting position. The lesion was completely removed in piecemeal fashion through a tiny incision on the sulcus, which did not cause any new neurological deficits. The modified Rankin Scale improved from 4 before the surgery to 1, and the patient had no recurrence during the 2 years of follow-up. The advantage of this access and the dissection techniques for this challenging lesion are introduced, based on our experience with more than 230 surgeries of brainstem cavernoma.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/0H_XqkQgQ9I.