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Balancing the shortcomings of microscope and endoscope: endoscope-assisted technique in microsurgical removal of recurrent epidermoid cysts in the posterior fossa.

BACKGROUND: We report about endoscope-assisted surgery of epidermoid cysts in the posterior fossa focusing on the application of neuro-endoscopy and the clinical outcome in cases of recurrent epidermoid cysts.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: 25 consecutively operated patients with an epidermoid cyst in the posterior fossa were retrospectively analysed. Surgeries were performed both with an operating microscope (OPMI Pentero or NC 4, Zeiss Company, Oberkochen, Germany) and endoscopic equipment (4 mm rigid endoscopes with 30° and 70° optics; Karl Storz Company, Tuttlingen, Germany) under continuous intraoperative monitoring. Surgical reports and DVD-recordings were evaluated for identification of adhesion areas and surgical details.

RESULTS: 7 (28%) of the 25 patients were recurrences of previously operated epidermoid cysts. Mean time to recurrence was 17 years (8-22 years). In 5 cases the endoscope was used as an adjunctive tool for inspection/endoscope-assisted removal of remnants. The effective time of use of the endoscope was limited to the end stage of the procedure, but was very effective.

CONCLUSION: In a modern operative setting and with the necessary surgical experience recurrent epidermoid cysts may be removed with excellent clinical results. The combined use of microscope and endoscope offers relevant advantages in demanding anatomic situations.

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