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Alberto Di Somma, Cristobal Langdon, Matteo de Notaris, Luis Reyes, Santiago Ortiz-Perez, Isam Alobid and Joaquim Enseñat

OBJECTIVE

Over the years, Meckel’s cave pathologies have been judged off-limits because of high rates of morbidity. Even though several studies have defined various surgical routes with tolerable morbidity and mortality rates, controversies related to the optimal avenue to treat different categories of Meckel’s cave and cavernous sinus neoplasms persist.

With unceasing energy to cultivate minimally invasive neurosurgical approaches, the endoscopic endonasal route has been tested, and the approach effectively performed, to provide a valid surgical window to these areas. In this dynamic and challenging scenario, another ventral endoscopic minimally invasive route—that is, the superior eyelid endoscopic transorbital approach—has been very recently proposed, and used in selected cases, to access the cavernous sinus and Meckel’s cave regions.

METHODS

The authors report the technical nuances of a combined and simultaneous endoscopic endonasal and transorbital surgical treatment of a patient with a Meckel’s cave schwannoma. The operation involved collaboration among neurosurgery, otorhinolaryngology, and ophthalmology (oculoplastic surgery). The patient recovered well, had no neurological deficits, and was discharged to home 3 days after surgery.

RESULTS

The multiportal combined route was proposed for the following reasons. The endonasal approach, considered to be more familiar to our skull base team, could allow control of possible damage of the internal carotid artery. From the endonasal perspective, the most inferior and medial portion of the tumor could be properly managed. Finally, the transorbital route, by means of opening the lateral wall of the cavernous sinus via the meningoorbital band, could allow control of the superolateral part of the tumor and, most importantly, could permit removal of the portion entering the posterior cranial fossa via the trigeminal pore. Simultaneous surgery with two surgical teams working together was planned in order to reduce operative time, hospital stay, and patient stress and discomfort, and to ensure “one-shot” complete tumor removal, with minimal or no complications.

CONCLUSIONS

This study represents the translation into the real surgical setting of recent anatomical contributions related to the novel endoscopic transorbital approach and its simultaneous integration with the endoscopic endonasal pathway. Accordingly, it may pave the way for future applications related to minimally invasive, multiportal endoscopic surgery for skull base tumors.

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Iacopo Dallan, Alberto Di Somma, Alberto Prats-Galino, Domenico Solari, Isam Alobid, Mario Turri-Zanoni, Giacomo Fiacchini, Paolo Castelnuovo, Giuseppe Catapano and Matteo de Notaris

OBJECTIVE

Exposure of the cavernous sinus is technically challenging. The most common surgical approaches use well-known variations of the standard frontotemporal craniotomy. In this paper the authors describe a novel ventral route that enters the lateral wall of the cavernous sinus through an interdural corridor that includes the removal of the greater sphenoid wing via a purely endoscopic transorbital pathway.

METHODS

Five human cadaveric heads (10 sides) were dissected at the Laboratory of Surgical NeuroAnatomy of the University of Barcelona. To expose the lateral wall of the cavernous sinus, a superior eyelid endoscopic transorbital approach was performed and the anterior portion of the greater sphenoid wing was removed. The meningo-orbital band was exposed as the key starting point for revealing the cavernous sinus and its contents in a minimally invasive interdural fashion.

RESULTS

This endoscopic transorbital approach, with partial removal of the greater sphenoid wing followed by a “natural” ventral interdural dissection of the meningo-orbital band, allowed exposure of the entire lateral wall of the cavernous sinus up to the plexiform portion of the trigeminal root and the petrous bone posteriorly and the foramen spinosum, with the middle meningeal artery, laterally.

CONCLUSIONS

The purely endoscopic transorbital approach through the meningo-orbital band provides a direct view of the cavernous sinus through a simple and rapid means of access. Indeed, this interdural pathway lies in the same sagittal plane as the lateral wall of the cavernous sinus. Advantages include a favorable angle of attack, minimal brain retraction, and the possibility for dissection through the interdural space without entering the neurovascular compartment of the cavernous sinus. Surgical series are needed to demonstrate any clinical advantages and disadvantages of this novel route.