The authors’ objective was to compare the indications, outcomes, and anatomical limits of supraorbital (SO) and mini-pterional (MP) craniotomies in patients with intra- and extraaxial brain tumors, and to assess approach selection, utility of endoscopy, and surgical field overlap.
A retrospective analysis was conducted of all brain tumor patients who underwent an SO or MP approach. The analyzed characteristics included pathology, endoscopy use, extent of resection, length of stay (LOS), and complications. On the basis of preoperative MRI data, tumor heatmaps were constructed to compare surgical access provided by both routes, including coronal projection heatmaps for parasellar tumors.
From 2007 to 2020, 158 patients underwent 173 (84.8%) SO craniotomies and 30 patients underwent 31 (15.2%) MP craniotomies; 71 (34.8%) procedures were reoperations. Of these 204 operations, 110 (63.6%) SO and 21 (67.7%) MP approaches were for extraaxial tumors (meningiomas in 65% and 76.2%, respectively). Gliomas and metastases together represented 84.1% and 70% of intraaxial tumors accessed with SO and MP approaches, respectively. Overall, 56.1% of tumors accessed with the SO approach and 41.9% of those accessed with the MP approach were in the parasellar region. Axial projection heatmaps showed that SO access extended along the entire ipsilateral and medial contralateral anterior cranial fossa, parasellar region, ipsilateral sylvian fissure, medial middle cranial fossa, and anterior midbrain, whereas MP access was limited to the ipsilateral middle cranial fossa, sylvian fissure, lateral parasellar region, and posterior aspect of anterior cranial fossa. Coronal projection heatmaps showed that parasellar access extended further superiorly with the SO approach compared with that of the MP approach. Endoscopy was utilized in 98 (56.6%) SO craniotomies and 7 (22.6%) MP craniotomies, with further tumor resection in 48 (49%) and 5 (71.4%) cases, respectively. Endoscope-assisted tumor removal was clustered in areas that were generally at farther distances from the craniotomy or in angled locations such as the cribriform plate region where microscopic visualization is limited. Gross-total or near-total resection was achieved in 120/173 (69%) SO approaches and 21/31 (68%) MP approaches. Major complications occurred in 11 (6.4%) SO approaches and 1 (3.2%) MP approach (p = 0.49). The median LOS decreased to 2 days in the last 2 years of the study.
This clinical experience suggests the SO and MP craniotomies are versatile, safe, and complementary approaches for tumors located in the anterior and middle cranial fossae and perisylvian and parasellar regions. The SO route, used in 85% of cases, achieved greater overall reach than the MP route. Both approaches may benefit from expanded visualization with endoscopy.