This study proposes a variation of the transorbital endoscopic approach (TOEA) that uses the lateral orbit as the primary surgical corridor, in a minimally invasive fashion, for the posterior fossa (PF) access. The versatility of this technique was quantitatively analyzed in comparison with the anterior transpetrosal approach (ATPA), which is commonly used for managing lesions in the PF.
Anatomical dissections were carried out in 5 latex-injected human cadaveric heads (10 sides). During dissection, the PF was first accessed by TOEAs through the anterior petrosectomy, both with and without lateral orbital rim osteotomies (herein referred as the lateral transorbital approach [LTOA] and the lateral orbital wall approach [LOWA], respectively). ATPAs were performed following the orbital approaches. The stereotactic measurements of the area of exposure, surgical freedom, and angles of attack to 5 anatomical targets were obtained for statistical comparison by the neuronavigator.
The LTOA provided the smallest area of exposure (1.51 ± 0.5 cm2, p = 0.07), while areas of exposure were similar between LOWA and ATPA (1.99 ± 0.7 cm2 and 2.01 ± 1.0 cm2, respectively; p = 0.99). ATPA had the largest surgical freedom, whereas that of LTOA was the most restricted. Similarly, for all targets, the vertical and horizontal angles of attack achieved with ATPA were significantly broader than those achieved with LTOA. However, in LOWA, the removal of the lateral orbital rim allowed a broader range of movement in the horizontal plane, thus granting a similar horizontal angle for 3 of the 5 targets in comparison with ATPA.
The TOEAs using the lateral orbital corridor for PF access are feasible techniques that may provide a comparable surgical exposure to the ATPA. Furthermore, the removal of the orbital rim showed an additional benefit in an enhancement of the surgical maneuverability in the PF.