Access to the ventrolateral pontomesencephalic area may be required for resecting cavernous malformations, performing revascularization of the upper posterior circulation, and treating vascular lesions such as aneurysms. However, such access is challenging because of nearby eloquent structures. Commonly used corridors to this surgical area include the optico-carotid, supracarotid, and carotid-oculomotor triangles. However, the window lateral to the oculomotor nerve can also be used and has not been studied. The authors describe the anatomical window formed between the oculomotor nerve and the medial tentorial edge (the oculomotor-tentorial triangle [OTT]) to the ventrolateral pontomesencephalic area, and assess techniques to expand it.
Four cadaveric heads (8 sides) underwent orbitozygomatic craniotomy. The OTT was exposed via a pretemporal approach. The contents of the OTT were determined and their anatomical features were recorded. Also, dimensions of the brainstem surface exposed lateral and inferior to the oculomotor nerve were measured. Measurements were repeated after completing a transcavernous approach (TcA), and after resection of temporal lobe uncus (UnR).
The s1 segment and proximal s2 segment of the superior cerebellar artery (SCA) and P2A segment of the posterior cerebral artery (PCA) were the main contents of the OTT, with average exposed lengths of 6.4 ± 1.3 mm and 5.5 ± 1.6 mm for the SCA and PCA, respectively. The exposed length of the SCA increased to 9.6 ± 2.7 mm after TcA (p = 0.002), and reached 11.6 ± 2.4 mm following UnR (p = 0.004). The exposed PCA length increased to 6.2 ± 1.6 mm after TcA (p = 0.04), and reached 10.4 ± 1.8 mm following UnR (p < 0.001). The brainstem surface was exposed 7.1 ± 0.5 mm inferior and 5.6 ± 0.9 mm lateral to the oculomotor nerve initially. The exposure inferior to the oculomotor nerve increased to 9.3 ± 1.7 mm after TcA (p = 0.003), and to 9.9 ± 2.5 mm after UnR (p = 0.21). The exposure lateral to the oculomotor nerve increased to 8.0 ± 1.7 mm after TcA (p = 0.001), and to 10.4 ± 2.4 mm after UnR (p = 0.002).
The OTT is an anatomical window that provides generous access to the upper ventrolateral pontomesencephalic area, s1- and s2-SCA, and P2A-PCA. This window may be efficiently used to address various pathologies in the region and is considerably expandable by TcA and/or UnR.
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