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  • Author or Editor: Ariel Kaen x
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Satoru Takeuchi, Kimihiro Nagatani, Naoki Otani and Hiroshi Nawashiro

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Ignacio Arrese, Ariel Kaen and Ramiro D. Lobato

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Ariel Kaen, Eugenio Cárdenas Ruiz-Valdepeñas, Alberto Di Somma, Francisco Esteban, Javier Márquez Rivas and Jesús Ambrosiani Fernandez


The endoscopic endonasal transpterygoid route has been widely evaluated in cadavers, and it is currently used during surgery for specific diseases involving the lateral skull base. Identification of the petrous segment of the internal carotid artery (ICA) is a key step during this approach, and the vidian nerve (VN) has been described as a principal landmark for safe endonasal localization of the petrous ICA at the level of the foramen lacerum. However, the relationship of the VN to the ICA at this level is complex as well as variable and has not been described in the pertinent literature. Accordingly, the authors undertook this purely anatomical study to detail and quantify the peri-lacerum anatomy as seen via an endoscopic endonasal transpterygoid pathway.


Eight human anatomical specimens (16 sides) were dissected endonasally under direct endoscopic visualization. Anatomical landmarks of the VN and the posterior end of the vidian canal (VC) during the endoscopic endonasal transpterygoid approach were described, quantitative anatomical data were compiled, and a schematic classification of the most relevant structures encountered was proposed.


The endoscopic endonasal transpterygoid approach was used to describe the different anatomical structures surrounding the anterior genu of the petrous ICA. Five key anatomical structures were identified and described: the VN, the eustachian tube, the foramen lacerum, the petroclival fissure, and the pharyngobasilar fascia. These structures were specifically quantified and summarized in a schematic acronym—VELPPHA—to describe the area. The VELPPHA area is a dense fibrocartilaginous space around the inferior compartment of the foramen lacerum that can be reached by following the VC posteriorly; this area represents the posterior limits of the transpterygoid approach and, of utmost importance, no neurovascular structures were observed through the VELPPHA area in this study, indicating that it should be a safe zone for surgery in the posterior end of the endoscopic endonasal transpterygoid approach.


The VELPPHA area represents the posterior limits of the endoscopic endonasal transpterygoid approach. Early identification of this area can enhance the safety of the endoscopic endonasal transpterygoid approach expanded to the lateral aspect of the skull base, especially when treating patients with poorly pneumatized sphenoid sinuses.

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Ariel Kaen, Luis Jimenez-Roldan, Rafael Alday, Pedro A. Gomez, Alfonso Lagares, José Fernández Alén and Ramiro D. Lobato


The aim of this study was to determine the incidence of posttraumatic hydrocephalus in severely head-injured patients who required decompressive craniectomy (DC). Additional objectives were to determine the relationship between hydrocephalus and several clinical and radiological features, with special attention to subdural hygromas as a sign of distortion of the CSF circulation.


The authors conducted a retrospective study of 73 patients with severe head injury who required DC. The patients were admitted to the authors' department between January 2000 and January 2006. Posttraumatic hydrocephalus was defined as: 1) modified frontal horn index greater than 33%, and 2) the presence of Gudeman CT criteria. Hygromas were diagnosed based on subdural fluid collection and classified according to location of the craniectomy.


Hydrocephalus was diagnosed in 20 patients (27.4%). After uni- and multivariate analysis, the presence of interhemispheric hygromas (IHHs) was the only independent prognostic factor for development of posttraumatic hydrocephalus (p < 0.0001). More than 80% of patients with IHHs developed hydrocephalus within the first 50 days of undergoing DC. In all cases the presence of hygromas preceded the diagnosis of hydrocephalus. The IHH predicts the development of hydrocephalus after DC with 94% sensitivity and 96% specificity. The presence of an IHH showed an area under the receiver-operator characteristic of 0.951 (95% CI 0.87–1.00; p < 0.0001).


Hydrocephalus was observed in 27.4% of the patients with severe traumatic brain injury who required DC. The presence of IHHs was a predictive radiological sign of hydrocephalus development within the first 6 months of DC in patients with severe head injury.