Object. The goal of this study was to determine whether some petroclival tumors can be safely and efficiently treated using a modified retrosigmoid petrosal approach that is called the retrosigmoid intradural suprameatal approach (RISA).
Methods. The RISA was introduced in 1983, and since that time 12 patients harboring petroclival meningiomas have been treated using this technique. The RISA includes a retrosigmoid craniotomy and drilling of the suprameatus petrous bone, which is located above and anterior to the internal auditory meatus, thus providing access to Meckel's cave and the middle fossa.
Radical tumor resection (Simpson Grade I or II) was achieved in nine (75%) of the 12 patients. Two patients underwent subtotal resection (Simpson Grade III), and one patient underwent complete resection of tumor at the posterior fossa with subtotal resection at the middle fossa. There were no deaths or severe complications in this series; all patients did well postoperatively, being independent at the time of their last follow-up examinations (mean 5.6 years). Neurological deficits included facial paresis in one patient and worsening of hearing in two patients.
Conclusions. Theapproach described here is a useful modification of the retrosigmoid approach, which allows resection of large petroclival tumors without the need for supratentorial craniotomies. Although technically meticulous, this approach is not time-consuming; it is safe and can produce good results. This is the first report on the use of this approach for petroclival meningiomas.