The transcondylar approach to extradural nonneoplastic lesions of the craniovertebral junction

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  • 1 Departments of Neurosurgery and Radiology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas
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✓ Ventral extradural lesions at the craniovertebral junction are commonly exposed through the transoral or transmaxillary approach. The disadvantages of these approaches include: 1) difficulty in reaching laterally located lesions; 2) ineligibility of patients with an intradental distance of less than 25 mm or severe macroglossia; 3) the need for a separate procedure for stabilization and fusion; and 4) the risk of infection from transgressing a contaminated field. In this report, the authors describe the use of the transcondylar approach to extradural nonneoplastic lesions of the anterior craniovertebral junction for decompression and stabilization. Advantages of this approach include: 1) a short distance to the lesion; 2) a wide surgical envelope; 3) direct visualization of the dural sac, eliminating manipulation of the brainstem or upper spinal cord; 4) easy identification and control of the ipsilateral vertebral artery; 5) direct visualization and preservation of the lower cranial nerves; and 6) a sterile field. In addition, occipitocervical fusion and instrumentation can be performed during the same procedure. The transcondylar approach, based on anatomical studies in cadavers, was used to treat eight patients with ventral nonneoplastic lesions at the craniocervical junction. The technique and results are described.

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