Surgical limits in transnasal approach to opticocarotid region and planum sphenoidale: an anatomic cadaveric study

Tekin Ozcan, Selcuk Yilmazlar, Sibel Aker, Ender Korfali
World Neurosurgery 2010, 73 (4): 326-33

BACKGROUND: The significance of medial and lateral opticocarotid recesses and the planum sphenoidale region in skull base pathologies for the transsphenoidal-transplanum approach were evaluated.

METHODS: The sphenoid bone block samples were extracted from adult cadavers. Dissections and measurements in the opticocarotid and planum sphenoidale regions were performed in 29 samples using a surgical microscope. For histologic evaluation, oblique sections through the bilateral opticocarotid regions were obtained and examined in eight samples.

RESULTS: Optic, carotid prominences, and medial and lateral opticocarotid recesses can be identified as lateral markers intraoperatively to the extent of the exposure. The lateral opticocarotid recess was observed to be prominent in all samples. In all samples, the groove formed by optic and carotid prominences between the medial and lateral opticocarotid recesses was seen. This groove was designated the inter-recess sulcus. In the transsphenoidal-transplanum approach, the area needed for a reliable bone resection was measured as a mean of 237.32 ± 30.96 mm(2). The mean angle between optic nerves was 115.41 ± 18.39 degrees. The mean anteroposterior length of the planum sphenoidale was 14.84 ± 1.52 mm. In histologic sections, collagenous ligaments between the anterior part of cavernous sinus and the adventitia layer of internal carotid artery were more frequent and regular than the inferior part of optic nerve.

CONCLUSIONS: The lateral opticocarotid recess is a reliable and persistent indicator for extended transsphenoidal surgery. To approach the opticocarotid region near the internal carotid artery and optic nerve, a careful dissection is needed to minimize surgical injuries to the optic nerve and carotid artery. Other factors determining a reliable bone resection are the anteroposterior length of the planum sphenoidale and the distance and width of the angle between optic nerves. Attention should be given to individual anatomic variations of the region when planning and performing transsphenoidal-transplanum surgery.

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