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Ahmed Mohyeldin, Jayakar V. Nayak, and Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda

Over the past three decades, endoscopic endonasal surgery has unlocked new corridors to treat a wide spectrum of ventral skull base lesions. Tuberculum sella meningiomas represent one of the most ideal pathologies for ventral skull base access. Traditionally, these lesions were approached primarily through various subfrontal and frontal-lateral transcranial approaches that have unfortunately been shown to be associated with worsening visual decline postoperatively. The endoscopic endonasal approach is now being attempted by more surgeons and leverages an infrachiasmatic trajectory that provides direct access to the tuberculum sella where most of the vascular supply for these lesions can be taken early, facilitating more efficient surgical resection and mitigating the risk of optic nerve injury. Here we review a challenging case of a large (∼3 cm) tuberculum sella meningioma, encasing critical vessels off the circle of Willis and resected via an endoscopic endonasal approach. We discuss the technical nuances and relevant surgical anatomy of this approach and highlight important considerations in the safe and successful removal of these meningiomas. We show that certain tumors that appear to encase the supraclinoidal carotid artery can be fully resected via an endonasal approach with precise surgical technique and adequate exposure. Furthermore, this case illustrates the risk of injuring a key perforating vessel from the anterior communicating artery complex, called the subcallosal artery. Injury to this vessel is highly associated with tumors like the one presented here that extend into the suprachiasmatic space between the optic chiasm and the anterior communicating complex. Meticulous surgical dissection is required to preserve this perforating vessel as well as branches from the superior hypophyseal artery. Finally, we review our current closure techniques for these challenging approaches and discuss the use of a lumbar drain for 3 days to lower CSF leak rates.

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Omar Choudhri, Stefan A. Mindea, Abdullah Feroze, Ethan Soudry, Steven D. Chang, and Jayakar V. Nayak


In this study the authors share their experience using intraoperative spinal navigation and imaging for endoscopic transnasal approaches to the odontoid in 5 patients undergoing C1–2 surgery for basilar invagination at Stanford Hospital and Clinics from 2010 to 2013.


Of these 5 patients undergoing C1–2 surgery for basilar invagination, 4 underwent a 2-tiered anterior C1–2 resection with posterior occipitocervical fusion during a first stage surgery, followed by endoscopic endonasal odontoidectomy in a separate setting. Intraoperative stereotactic navigation was performed using a surgical navigation system in all cases. Navigation accuracy, characterized as target registration error, ranged between 0.8 mm and 2 mm, with an average of 1.2 mm. Intraoperative imaging using a CT scanner was also performed in 2 patients.


Endoscopic decompression of the brainstem was achieved in all patients, and no intraoperative complications were encountered. All patients were extubated within 24 hours after surgery and were able to swallow within 48 hours. After appropriate initial reconstruction of the defect at the craniocervical junction, no postoperative CSF leakage, arterial injury, or need for reoperation was encountered; 1 patient developed mild postoperative velopharyngeal insufficiency that resolved by the 6-month follow-up evaluation. There were no deaths and no patients required tracheostomy placement. The average inpatient stay after surgery varied between 72 and 96 hours, without extended intensive care unit stays for any patient.


Technologies such as intraoperative CT scanning and merged MRI/CT can provide the surgeon with detailed, virtual real-time information about the extent of complex endoscopic vertebral segment resection and brainstem decompression and lessens the prospect of revision or secondary procedures in this challenging surgical corridor. Moreover, patients experience limited morbidity and can tolerate early oral intake after transnasal endoscopic odontoidectomy. Essential to the successful undertaking of these endoscopic adventures is 1) an understanding of the endoscopic nasal, skull base, and neurovascular anatomy; 2) advanced and extended-length instrumentation including navigation; and 3) a team approach between experienced rhinologists and spine surgeons comfortable with endoscopic skull base techniques