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Arnau Benet, Shawn L. Hervey-Jumper, Jose Juan González Sánchez, Michael T. Lawton and Mitchel S. Berger


Transcortical and transsylvian corridors have been previously described as the main surgical approaches to the insula, but there is insufficient evidence to support one approach versus the other. The authors performed a cadaveric comparative study regarding insular exposure, surgical window and freedom, between the transcortical and transsylvian approaches (with and without cutting superficial sylvian bridging veins). Surgical anatomy and skull surface reference points to the different insular regions are also described.


Sixteen cadaveric specimens were embalmed with a customized formula to enhance neurosurgical simulation. Two different blocks were defined in the study: first, transsylvian without (TS) and with the superficial sylvian bridging veins cut (TSVC) and transcortical (TC) approaches to the insula were simulated in all (16) specimens. Insular surface exposure, surgical window and surgical freedom were calculated for each procedure and related to the Berger-Sanai insular glioma classification (Zones I–IV) in 10 specimens. Second, the venous drainage pattern and anatomical landmarks considered critical for surgical planning were studied in all specimens.


In the insular Zone I (anterior-superior), the TC approach provided the best insular exposure compared with both TS and TSVC. The surgical window obtained with the TC approach was also larger than that obtained with the TS. The TC approach provided 137% more surgical freedom than the TS approach. Only the TC corridor provided complete insular exposure. In Zone II (posterior-superior), results depended on the degree of opercular resection. Without resection of the precentral gyrus in the operculum, insula exposure, surgical windows and surgical freedom were equivalent. If the opercular cortex was resected, the insula exposure and surgical freedom obtained through the TC approach was greater to that of the other groups. In Zone III (posterior-inferior), the TC approach provided better surgical exposure than the TS, yet similar to the TSVC. The TC approach provided the best insular exposure, surgical window, and surgical freedom if components of Heschl’s gyrus were resected. In Zone IV (anterior-inferior), the TC corridor provided better exposure than both the TS and the TSVC. The surgical window was equivalent. Surgical freedom provided by the TC was greater than the TS approach. This zone was completely exposed only with the TC approach. A dominant anterior venous drainage was found in 87% of the specimens. In this group, 50% of the specimens had good alternative venous drainage. The sylvian fissure corresponded to the superior segment of the squamosal suture in 14 of 16 specimens. The foramen of Monro was 1.9 cm anterior and 4.42 cm superior to the external acoustic meatus. The M2 branch over the central sulcus of the insula became the precentral M4 (rolandic) artery in all specimens.


Overall, the TC approach to the insula provided better insula exposure and surgical freedom compared with the TS and the TSVC. Cortical and subcortical mapping is critical during the TC approach to the posterior zones (II and III), as the facial motor and somatosensory functions (Zone II) and language areas (Zone III) may be involved. The evidence provided in this study may help the neurosurgeon when approaching insular gliomas to achieve a greater extent of tumor resection via an optimal exposure.

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Ali Tayebi Meybodi, Michael T. Lawton, Sonia Yousef, Xiaoming Guo, Jose Juan González Sánchez, Halima Tabani, Sergio García, Jan-Karl Burkhardt and Arnau Benet

Anterior clinoidectomy is a difficult yet essential technique in skull base surgery. Two main techniques (extradural and intradural) with multiple modifications have been proposed to increase efficiency and avoid complications. In this study, the authors sought to develop a hybrid technique based on localization of the optic strut (OS) to combine the advantages and avoid the disadvantages of both techniques.

Ten cadaveric specimens were prepared for surgical simulation. After a standard pterional craniotomy, the anterior clinoid process (ACP) was resected in 2 steps. The segment anterior to the OS was resected extradurally, while the segment posterior to the OS was resected intradurally. The proposed technique was performed in 6 clinical cases to evaluate its safety and efficiency.

Anterior clinoidectomy was successfully performed in all cadaveric specimens and all 6 patients by using the proposed technique. The extradural phase enabled early decompression of the optic nerve while avoiding the adjacent internal carotid artery. The OS was drilled intradurally under direct visualization of the adjacent neurovascular structures. The described landmarks were easily identifiable and applicable in the surgically treated patients. No operative complication was encountered.

A proposed 2-step hybrid technique combines the advantages of the extradural and intradural techniques while avoiding their disadvantages. This technique allows reduced intradural drilling and subarachnoid bone dust deposition. Moreover, the most critical part of the clinoidectomy—that is, drilling of the OS and removal of the body of the ACP—is left for the intradural phase, when critical neurovascular structures can be directly viewed.

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Jose Juan González Sánchez, Jordina Rincon-Torroella, Alberto Prats-Galino, Matteo de Notaris, Joan Berenguer, Enrique Ferrer Rodríguez and Arnau Benet


The temporal horn of the lateral ventricle is a complex structure affected by specific pathological conditions. Current approaches to the temporal horn involve a certain amount of corticotomy and white matter disruption. Surgeons therefore set aside anterior temporal lobectomy as a last resource and avoid it in the dominant hemisphere. The authors propose a minimally invasive endoscopic intraventricular approach to the temporal horn and describe a standardized analysis and technical assessment of the feasibility of this approach.


To determine the best trajectory, angulation, and entry point to the temporal horn of the lateral ventricle, the authors evaluated 50 cranial MRI studies (100 temporal lobes) from healthy patients. They studied and systematized the neurosurgical endoscopic anatomy. They also simulated the proposed approach in 9 cadaveric specimens (18 approaches).


Mean scalp entry point coordinates (± SD) were 2.7 ± 0.28 cm lateral to the inion and 5.6 ± 0.41 cm superior to the inion. The mean total distance from the uncal recess to the scalp (± SD) was 10.64 ± 0.6 cm. The mean total intraparenchymal distance crossed by the endoscope was 3.76 ± 0.36 cm. The approach was successfully completed in all studied specimens.


In this study, the endoscopic intraventricular approach to the temporal horn is standardized. The morphometric analysis makes this approach anatomically feasible and replicable. This approach provides minimally invasive endoscopic access to the uncal recess, amygdala, hippocampus, fornix, and paraventricular temporal lobe structures. The following essential strategies enabled access to and maneuverability inside the temporal horn: tailored preoperative planning of the trajectory and use of anatomical and radiological references, constant irrigation, and an angled endoscopic lens. Safety assessment and novel instruments and techniques may be proposed to advance this very promising route to pathological changes in the temporal lobe.