Retrosigmoid suprafloccular transhorizontal fissure approach for resection of brainstem cavernous malformation

Shiro Ohue, Takanori Fukushima, Allan H Friedman, Yoshiaki Kumon, Takanori Ohnishi
Neurosurgery 2010, 66 (6): 306-12; discussion 312-3

OBJECTIVE: This study examined the usefulness of a surgical approach (retrosigmoid suprafloccular transhorizontal fissure approach) for resection of brainstem cavernous malformations (CMs).

METHODS: An anatomic study concerning the retrosigmoid suprafloccular transhorizontal fissure approach was performed with 3 cadaveric heads. Clinical course was retrospectively reviewed for 10 patients who underwent microsurgical resection of brainstem CMs with this approach. Medical, surgical, and neuroimaging records of these patients were evaluated.

RESULTS: In the anatomic study, after standard suboccipital retrosigmoid craniotomy, the horizontal fissure on the petrosal surface of the cerebellum was dissected between the superior semilunar lobule and flocculus. With this approach, the root entry zone of the trigeminal nerve and the middle cerebellar peduncle could be exposed by superior retraction of the superior semilunar lobule. The lateral surface of the pons was then easily visible around the root entry zone. When this approach was used for 10 brainstem CMs, complete resection was achieved in 9 patients (90%). No mortality was encountered in this study. New neurological deficits occurred in the early postoperative period for 4 patients but were transient in 3 patients. Neurological status at final follow-up was improved in 4 patients (40%), unchanged in 5 patients (50%), and worse in 1 patient (10%) compared with preoperative conditions.

CONCLUSION: The retrosigmoid suprafloccular transhorizontal fissure approach is useful for the resection of lateral pontine CMs.


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