Current approaches for resection of petrous bone cholesteatomas (PBCs), such as canal wall up (closed) and canal wall down (open) mastoidectomies, in the pediatric population present recurrence rates ranging between 17% and 70% with a high rate of postoperative complications involving hearing loss and facial nerve weakness. This technical note illustrates an alternative intracranial approach that was used in combination with the techniques of piezoelectric surgery, neuroendoscopy, and neuronavigation for safe and effective removal in a difficult pediatric case of recurrent PBC.
The third recurrence of a PBC in a 14-year-old girl was diagnosed by CT and MRI. A retrosigmoid approach gave access to the petrous apex, allowing for the safe and complete removal of the lesion and decompression of the facial nerve and internal carotid artery. The intraoperative implementation of piezoelectric surgery, neuronavigation, neuroendoscopy, and neuromonitoring ensured better intraoperative visualization, safer bone removal, and preservation of nerve function, facilitating a macroscopically total resection of the pathology without additional neurological damage of the adjacent tissues.
Cholesteatoma extension could be clearly verified by intraoperative neuronavigation. Neuroendoscopy and piezoelectric surgery provided good support in the safe bone removal in close vicinity to neurovascular structures and in full vision inside the cholesteatoma cavity beyond the line of sight of the microscope. Hearing and facial nerve function could be preserved.
The presented intracranial retrosigmoid approach combined with multiple intraoperative assisting techniques proved to be effective for the safe and complete removal of recurrent PBC, providing excellent intraoperative visualization and the possibility of preserving cranial nerve function.