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Antonio Santoro, Saverio Giuliani and Sergio Paolini

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Emiliano Passacantilli, Antonio Santoro, Angelo Pichierri, Roberto Delfini and Giampaolo Cantore

Object

The authors present the surgical results obtained using the anterolateral approach to the craniocervical junction (CCJ) to resect a lesion with an extradural component located anterolateral to the foramen magnum and upper cervical spine.

Methods

The anterolateral approach, which is a presternomastoid retrojugular route to the CCJ, was performed in 14 patients. The skin incision follows the anterior edge of the sternomastoid muscle. The vertebral artery (VA) was exposed at C-1. This approach was extended either down to the cervical spine or anteriorly to the jugular foramen, according to specific requirements. Two patients had previously undergone other surgical procedures.

The follow-up period ranged from 4 months to 6.2 years. The tumor resection was complete in 11 cases and subtotal in two. In a case of vertebral coiling, a vein graft was interposed between the V1 and the V3 segments of the VA, and the bypass was still patent at the 2-year follow-up examination. In two cases involving a glomus tumor, there was a transitory postoperative seventh cranial nerve deficit.

Conclusions

The aforementioned technique allows for sufficient access to lesions located anterolateral to the CCJ. It is indicated in cases in which lesions exhibit a significant extradural component, and it provides good control of the VA, the cervical portion of the internal carotid artery, sigmoid—jugular complex, and lower cranial nerves. This approach can easily be combined with a posterolateral approach and can be extended anteriorly toward the jugular foramen and inferiorly toward the lower cervical spine.

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Lorenzo Nigro, Pasquale Donnarumma, Roberto Tarantino, Marika Rullo, Antonio Santoro and Roberto Delfini

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Maurizio Domenicucci, Antonio Santoro, Daniel H. D'Osvaldo, Roberto Delfini, Gianpaolo P. Cantore and Beniamino Guidetti

✓ The authors report 14 cases of multiple intracranial meningiomas representing 1.1% of all meningiomas operated on at their hospital in the past 35 years. Differentiation of multiple meningiomas, especially from meningiomatosis, must be strict. Since the introduction of computerized tomography scanning, the frequency of these cases has risen from 0.58% to 4.5% in the authors' meningioma series. Despite the multiplicity of sites, multiple meningiomas do not differ in prognosis from benign solitary meningiomas.

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Antonio Santoro, Emiliano Passacantilli, Giulio Guidetti, Mauro Dazzi, Guido Guglielmi and Giampaolo Cantore

✓ The authors describe the case of a patient with a symptomatic giant aneurysm of the posterior communicating artery (PCoA) associated with bilateral idiopathic occlusion of the internal carotid artery (ICA). The presence of severe tortuosity of the vertebral arteries (VAs), both at their origin from the subclavian artery and at the level of the third segment, impeded navigation of the catheter for embolization of the aneurysm with Guglielmi detachable coils (GDCs).

A direct surgical approach was considered to be a high-risk procedure because of the bilateral occlusion of the ICAs and the size of the aneurysm. The following therapeutic strategy was therefore adopted: 1) balloon occlusion test of the left VA; 2) vertebro—vertebral bypass with saphenous vein graft to provide a pathway for subsequent embolization; 3) ICA—left middle cerebral artery bypass to ensure blood flow in the event that embolization resulted in closure of the PCoA; and 4) GDC embolization of the aneurysm via the posterior circulation graft to ensure complete exclusion of the lesion from the arterial circulation and preservation of the PCoA. At 3-month follow-up review the patient did not present with any neurological deficits; at 1-year control examination, magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and MR angiography both confirmed complete exclusion of the aneurysm and patency of the two bypasses.

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Antonio Santoro, Roberto Delfini, Gualtiero Innocenzi, Claudio Di Biasi, Guido Trasimeni and Gianfranco Gualdi

✓ Two cases are reported of Arnold-Chiari type I malformation associated with syringomyelia, in which magnetic resonance (MR) imaging revealed spontaneous decompression of the syrinx. In one case axial MR imaging sections showed a communication between the syrinx and the spinal subarachnoid space, which supports the hypothesis that fissuring of the cord parenchyma is instrumental in the spontaneous resolution of syringomyelia. The MR imaging changes were not accompanied by variations in the patients' clinical course.

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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.