Meningiomas involving the optic canal: pattern of involvement and implications for surgical technique

Ahmed Nageeb M Taha, Kadir Erkmen, Ian F Dunn, Svetlana Pravdenkova, Ossama Al-Mefty
Neurosurgical Focus 2011, 30 (5): E12

OBJECT: Juxtasellar meningiomas frequently extend into the optic canal. Removing these meningiomas from the optic canal is crucial for favorable visual outcome.

METHODS: The authors performed a retrospective analysis of 45 patients with anterior and middle fossa meningiomas with involvement of the optic pathway in whom surgery was performed by the senior author (O.A.M.) during the period from 1993 to 2007. Extent of resection and recurrence rates were determined by pre- and postoperative MR imaging studies. Visual outcomes were evaluated with full ophthalmological examinations performed before and after surgery.

RESULTS: Forty-five patients (31 women and 14 men) were involved in this study; their mean age was 51.6 years. Patients were followed for a mean of 29.8 months (range 6-108 months). No surgery-related death occurred. The average tumor size was 3.1 cm. Total resection of the tumor (Simpson Grade I) was achieved in 32 patients (71.1%). Gross-total resection (Simpson Grades II and III) was achieved in 13 patients (28.9%). Only 1 patient harboring a left cavernous sinus meningioma had tumor recurrence and underwent repeat resection. Meningiomas extended into 58 optic canals in these cases; 13 patients showed extension into both optic canals. Visual disturbance was the main presenting symptom in 37 patients (82.2%); 8 patients had normal vision initially. Visual improvement after surgery was seen in 21 (57%) of 37 patients and in 27 (34.6%) of 78 affected eyes. Vision remained unchanged in 48 (61.5%) of 78 eyes. Transient postoperative visual deterioration occurred in 2 eyes (2.6%), with recovery to baseline over time. Only 1 (1.3%) of 78 eyes had permanent visual deterioration after surgery. The visual outcome was affected mainly by the tumor size, the preoperative visual status, and the duration of symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS: Involvement of the optic canal in meningiomas is frequent. It occurs in a wide variety of anterior skull base meningiomas and it can be bilateral. It is a prominent factor that affects the preoperative visual status and postoperative recovery. Decompression of the optic canal and removal of the tumor inside is a crucial step in the surgical management of these tumors to optimize visual recovery and prevent tumor recurrence.

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