Combined supra/infratentorial—transsinus approach to large pineal region tumors

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  • 1 Departments of Neurosurgery and Radiology, The George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, D.C.
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Object. The authors sought to confirm that the combined supra/infratentorial—transsinus approach offers a safer means of resecting large pineal region tumors than other approaches currently being used. The aforementioned method provides a wider exposure of the pineal region with less brain retraction than the infratentorial—supracerebellar or the occipital—transtentorial approach alone and is applicable to some large and giant tumors of this area. This combined approach was used in six patients to remove large pineal region tumors including four tentorial meningiomas, one pineocytoma, and one epidermoid cyst.

Methods. The transverse sinus and tentorium were sectioned after review of preoperative angiographic studies, after taking intraoperative measurements of the venous pressure in the nondominant transverse sinus before and after clipping and while monitoring the somatosensory evoked potentials. The occipital lobe cortex and cerebellum were retracted slightly along the tentorium. Deep veins of the galenic system, the quadrigeminal area, and the tumor were well exposed. Before it was used for tumor resection the approach was studied in five cadaveric head specimens, and the projection of different approaches was compared radiologically.

The tumors were removed in a gross-total manner in all patients, and none of the major veins of the galenic system was injured. Resuturing of the nondominant transverse sinus was performed postoperatively in one patient. One of the six patients experienced transient visual loss, and another suffered mild right sixth cranial nerve paresis; however, both recovered in 3 weeks. The wide exposure of the combined approach was also confirmed on radiological and anatomical studies.

Conclusions. The combined supra/infratentorial—transsinus approach is preferred for the resection of certain large pineal region tumors.

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Contributor Notes

Address reprint requests to: Laligam N. Sekhar, M.D., Department of Neurological Surgery, The George Washington University Medical Center, 2150 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 7420, Washington, D.C. 20037.
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