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Richard Gonzalo Párraga, Lucas Loss Possatti, Raphael Vicente Alves, Guilherme Carvalhal Ribas, Uğur Türe and Evandro de Oliveira


Brainstem surgery remains a challenge for the neurosurgeon despite recent improvements in neuroimaging, microsurgical techniques, and electrophysiological monitoring. A detailed knowledge of the microsurgical anatomy of the brainstem surface and its internal architecture is mandatory to plan appropriate approaches to the brainstem, to choose the safest point of entry, and to avoid potential surgical complications.


An extensive review of the literature was performed regarding the brainstem surgical approaches, and their correlations with the pertinent anatomy were studied and illustrated through dissection of human brainstems properly fixed with 10% formalin. The specimens were dissected using the fiber dissection technique, under ×6 to ×40 magnification. 3D stereoscopic photographs were obtained (anaglyphic 3D) for better illustration of this study.


The main surgical landmarks and their relationship with the cerebellum and vascular structures were identified on the surface of the brainstem. The arrangements of the white matter (ascending and descending pathways as well as the cerebellar peduncles) were demonstrated on each part of the brainstem (midbrain, pons, and medulla oblongata), with emphasis on their relationships with the surface. The gray matter, constituted mainly by nuclei of the cranial nerves, was also studied and illustrated.


The objective of this article is to review the microsurgical anatomy and the surgical approaches pertinent to the brainstem, providing a framework of its external and internal architecture to guide the neurosurgeon during its related surgical procedures.

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Jean G. de Oliveira, Richard Gonzalo Párraga, Feres Chaddad-Neto, Guilherme Carvalhal Ribas and Evandro P. L. de Oliveira


The aim of this study was to describe the surgical anatomy of the mediobasal aspect of the temporal lobe and the supracerebellar transtentorial (SCTT) approach performed not with an opening, but with the resection of the tentorium, as an alternative route for the neurosurgical management of vascular and tumoral lesions arising from this region.


Cadaveric specimens were used to illustrate the surgical anatomy of the mediobasal region of the temporal lobe. Demographic aspects, characteristics of lesions, clinical presentation, surgical results, follow-up findings, and outcomes were retrospectively reviewed for patients referred to receive the SCTT approach with tentorial resection.


Ten patients (83%) were female and 2 (17%) were male. Their ages ranged from 6 to 59 years (mean 34.5 ± 15.8 years). All lesions (3 posterior cerebral artery aneurysms, 3 arteriovenous malformations, 3 cavernous malformations, and 3 tumors) were completely excluded or resected. After a mean follow-up period of 143 months (range 10–240 months), the mean postoperative Glasgow Outcome Scale score was 4.9.


Knowledge of the surgical anatomy provides improvement for microsurgical approaches. The evolution from a small opening to a resection of the tentorium absolutely changed the exposure of the mediobasal aspect of the temporal lobe. The SCTT approach with tentorial resection is an excellent alternative route to the posterior part of mediobasal aspect of the temporal lobe, and it was enough to achieve the best neurosurgical management of tumoral and vascular lesions located in this area.