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Mario Ammirati and Antonio Bernardo

Object

The superior orbital fissure (SOF) is an important landmark in the neurosurgical pterional approach, but the anatomical features of the SOF and the procedures necessary to fully expose it and its contents have not been detailed. Although the pterional approach is commonly used during skull base or vascular surgery by neurosurgeons who may already be familiar with its nuances and anatomical relationships to the SOF, this knowledge may also be useful to the wider neurosurgical community. The authors describe the spatial relationships of the contents of the SOF and suggest a specific sequence of steps for exposing the SOF region in a pterional approach.

Methods

Using standard microsurgical equipment and instruments, the authors performed 20 pterional approaches in 10 embalmed cadaver heads in which the vascular systems had been injected with colored material.

Five sequential steps were delineated for approaching and dissecting the SOF and its contents: 1) drilling the sphenoidal ridge, anterior clinoidal process, and part of the greater and lesser wings of the sphenoid; 2) resecting the dural bridge; 3) detaching the hemispheric dura mater, thereby exposing the anterior portion of the cavernous sinus and the neural component entering the SOF; 4) identifying and dissecting the extraanular structures; and 5) opening the anulus of Zinn and identifying its neural constituents.

Conclusions

Knowing the 3D relationships of the contents of the SOF encountered in the pterional approach enables safe neurosurgical access to the area. The proposed sequence of steps allows a controlled exposure of the SOF and surrounding areas. Untethering the frontotemporal lobe by transecting the dural bridge connecting the dura to the perior-bita allows good exposure of the basal frontotemporal lobes, both intra- and extradurally, and reduces brain retraction.

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Mario Ammirati, Antonio Bernardo, Angelo Musumeci and Albino Bricolo

Object. The purpose of this investigation was to describe and compare through cadaveric dissection the microsurgical exposure afforded by the median, paramedian, and extreme-lateral infratentorial—supracerebellar approaches to the posterior and middle incisural space.

Methods. The median, paramedian, and extreme-lateral infratentorial—supracerebellar approaches were performed in 10 embalmed cadaveric heads by using standard microneurosurgical methods; each approach was executed a minimum of five times. The dissections were performed in a stepwise fashion, comparing the exposure afforded by each surgical route and highlighting the relationships among the targeted neurovascular structures. Exposure of the dural sinuses and transection of the tentorium were also evaluated in relation to the degree of exposure achieved.

The median infratentorial—supracerebellar route provides direct exposure of the posterior incisural space, although the culmen represents a relative obstacle to exposure of the lower quadrigeminal plate. The paramedian variant allows a more lateral perspective on the posterolateral brainstem surface at the level of the middle incisural space, in addition to exposing the homolateral collicular plate. The extreme-lateral corridor widens the exposure of the paramedian approach to include the anterolateral brainstem surface, offering a complete view of the cisternal space surrounding the middle incisural space. Complete, constant exposure and retraction of the dural sinuses facilitated the surgical exposure.

Conclusions. The infratentorial—supracerebellar approaches allow safe circumferential exposure of the posterior and middle incisural space. Choosing among different variants allows the surgeon to reach selected areas, with the midline variant being best for exposure of the posterior incisural space, and the paramedian and extreme-lateral variants being best for reaching the posterior and the anterior part of the middle incisural space, respectively. The more lateral the approach, the more anterior and multiangled the exposure gained. Complete, constant exposure and retraction of the dural sinuses improves the exposure. Accurate knowledge of the regional anatomy is mandatory.

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Malte Ottenhausen, Imithri Bodhinayake, Alexander I. Evins, Matei Banu, John A. Boockvar and Antonio Bernardo

In this article the authors discuss the development of neurosurgical approaches and the advances in science and technology that influenced this development throughout history. They provide a broad overview of this interesting topic from the first attempts of trephination by ancient cultures to the work of the pioneers of neurosurgery and the introduction of microsurgery.

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Alireza Shoakazemi, Alexander I. Evins, Justin C. Burrell, Philip E. Stieg and Antonio Bernardo

OBJECT

Surgical approaches to deep-seated brain pathologies, specifically lesions of the third ventricle, have always been a challenge for neurosurgeons. In certain cases, the transcallosal approach remains the most suitable option for targeting lesions of the third ventricle, although retraction of the fornices and wall of the third ventricle have been associated with neuropsychological and hypothalamic deficits. The authors investigated the feasibility of an interhemispheric 3D endoscopic transcallosal approach through a minimally invasive tubular retractor system for the management of third ventricular lesions.

METHODS

Three-dimensional endoscopic transtubular transcallosal approaches were performed on 5 preserved cadaveric heads (10 sides). A parasagittal bur hole was placed using neuronavigation, and a tubular retractor was inserted under direct endoscopic visualization. Following observation of the vascular structures, fenestration of the corpus callosum was performed and the retractor was advanced through the opening. Transforaminal, interforniceal, and transchoroidal modifications were all performed and evaluated by 3 surgeons.

RESULTS

This approach provided enhanced visualization of the third ventricle and more stable retraction of corpus callosum and fornices. Bayonetted instruments were used through the retractor without difficulty, and the retractor applied rigid, constant, and equally distributed pressure on the corpus callosum.

CONCLUSIONS

A transtubular approach to the third ventricle is feasible and facilitates blunt dissection of the corpus callosum that may minimize retraction injury. This technique also provides an added degree of safety by limiting the free range of instrumental movement. The combination of 3D endoscopic visualization with a clear plastic retractor facilitates safe and direct monitoring of the surgical corridor.

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Bernardo Fraioli, Vincenzo Esposito, Antonio Santoro, Giorgio Iannetti, Renato Giuffrè and Gianpaolo Cantore

✓ A transmaxillosphenoidal approach was used to remove sellar tumors invading the cavernous sinus. This procedure, a widening of the standard transsphenoidal approach to the sella turcica, uses the sublabial or transnasal route in which the medial wall of the maxillary sinus is laterally dislocated. This method provides good exposure of the prominences of bone above the carotid artery which lies on the posterolateral wall of the sphenoid sinus. This bone area is the key to opening the cavernous sinus inferomedially and removing lesions within its medial compartment.

The inferomedial approach takes an entirely extracerebral route so that tumors invading the cavernous sinus through its medial wall are approached inferomedially following the direction of tumor growth. It also allows direct visualization of the intracavernous carotid artery during tumor removal, thus sparing the cranial nerves, which run on the opposite side. Adequate surgical exposure of a pituitary adenoma is achieved with a custom-made sphenoidal retractor with asymmetric blades, the shorter blade holding aside the thin medial wall of the maxillary sinus.

Between October, 1989, and July, 1993, 11 patients with tumors invading the cavernous sinus underwent surgery via this approach; 10 had pituitary adenomas and one had a craniopharyngioma. Eight tumors were treated by primary operation: four tumors were totally and four subtotally (> 80%) removed; one tumor already operated on elsewhere was totally removed; and of two tumors already operated on and irradiated, one was subtotally removed and the other only partially (approximately 40%) removed owing to marked postirradiation scarring. None of the patients suffered permanent cranial nerve deficit and all but one showed marked clinical improvement.

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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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Hitoshi Fukuda, Alexander I. Evins, Koichi Iwasaki, Itaro Hattori, Kenichi Murao, Yoshitaka Kurosaki, Masaki Chin, Philip E. Stieg, Sen Yamagata and Antonio Bernardo

OBJECTIVE

Occipital artery–posterior inferior cerebellar artery (OA-PICA) bypass is a technically challenging procedure for posterior fossa revascularization. The caudal loop of the PICA is considered the optimal site for OA-PICA anastomosis, however its absence can increase the technical difficulty associated with this procedure. The use of the far-lateral approach for accessing alternative anastomosis sites in OA-PICA bypass in patients with absent or unavailable caudal loops of PICA is evaluated.

METHODS

A morphometric analysis of OA-PICA bypass with anastomosis on each segment of the PICA was performed on 5 cadaveric specimens through the conventional midline foramen magnum and far-lateral approaches. The difficulty level associated with anastomoses at each segment was qualitatively assessed in each approach for exposure and maneuverability by multiple surgeons. A series of 8 patients who underwent OA-PICA bypass for hemodynamic ischemia or ruptured dissecting posterior fossa aneurysms are additionally reviewed and described, and the clinical significance of the caudal loop of PICA is discussed.

RESULTS

Anastomosis on the caudal loop could be performed more superficially than on any other segment (p < 0.001). A far-lateral approach up to the medial border of the posterior condylar canal provided a 13.5 ± 2.2–mm wider corridor than the conventional midline foramen magnum approach, facilitating access to alternative anastomosis sites. The far-lateral approach was successfully used for OA-PICA bypass in 3 clinical cases whose caudal loops were absent, whereas the midline foramen magnum approach provided sufficient exposure for caudal loop bypass in the remaining 5 cases.

CONCLUSIONS

The absence of the caudal loop of the PICA is a major contributing factor to the technical difficulty of OA-PICA bypass. The far-lateral approach is a useful surgical option for OA-PICA bypass when the caudal loop of the PICA is unavailable.

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João Gabriel Ribeiro Gomes, Alessandra Augusta Gorgulho, Amanda de Oliveira López, Crystian Wilian Chagas Saraiva, Lucas Petri Damiani, Anderson Martins Pássaro, João Victor Salvajoli, Ludmila de Oliveira Siqueira, Bernardo Peres Salvajoli and Antônio Afonso Ferreira De Salles

OBJECTIVE

The role of tractography in Gamma Knife thalamotomy (GK-T) planning is still unclear. Pyramidal tractography might reduce the risk of radiation injury to the pyramidal tract and reduce motor complications.

METHODS

In this study, the ventralis intermedius nucleus (VIM) targets of 20 patients were bilaterally defined using Iplannet Stereotaxy Software, according to the anterior commissure–posterior commissure (AC-PC) line and considering the localization of the pyramidal tract. The 40 targets and tractography were transferred as objects to the GammaPlan Treatment Planning System (GP-TPS). New targets were defined, according to the AC-PC line in the functional targets section of the GP-TPS. The target offsets required to maintain the internal capsule (IC) constraint of < 15 Gy were evaluated. In addition, the strategies available in GP-TPS to maintain the minimum conventional VIM target dose at > 100 Gy were determined.

RESULTS

A difference was observed between the positions of both targets and the doses to the IC. The lateral (x) and the vertical (z) coordinates were adjusted 1.9 mm medially and 1.3 mm cranially, respectively. The targets defined considering the position of the pyramidal tract were more medial and superior, based on the constraint of 15 Gy touching the object representing the IC in the GP-TPS. The best strategy to meet the set constraints was 90° Gamma angle (GA) with automatic shaping of dose distribution; this was followed by 110° GA. The worst GA was 70°. Treatment time was substantially increased by the shaping strategy, approximately doubling delivery time.

CONCLUSIONS

Routine use of DTI pyramidal tractography might be important to fine-tune GK-T planning. DTI tractography, as well as anisotropy showing the VIM, promises to improve Gamma Knife functional procedures. They allow for a more objective definition of dose constraints to the IC and targeting. DTI pyramidal tractography introduced into the treatment planning may reduce the incidence of motor complications and improve efficacy. This needs to be validated in a large clinical series.

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Sukhdeep S. Jhawar, Maximiliano Nunez, Paolo Pacca, Daniel Seclen Voscoboinik and Huy Q. Truong