Anatomy of Meckel's cave and the trigeminal ganglion: anatomical landmarks for a safer approach to them

Mehmet Arslan, Haluk Deda, Emel Avci, Alaittin Elhan, Ibrahim Tekdemir, R Shane Tubbs, Gokalp Silav, Erdal Yilmaz, Mustafa Kemal Baskaya
Turkish Neurosurgery 2012, 22 (3): 317-23

AIM: Surgical approaches to Meckel's cave (MC) are often technically difficult and sometimes associated with postoperative morbidity. The relationship of surgical landmarks to relevant anatomy is important. Therefore, we attempted to delineate quantitatively their anatomy and the relationships between MC and surrounding structures.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: With the aid of a surgical microscope, MC and its contents were studied in 15 formalin-fixed cadaver head specimens. Measurements were made and their relationships were observed.

RESULTS: The distance from the zygomatic arch and the lateral end of the petrous ridge to MC was 26.5 and 34.4 mm, respectively. The distance from the arcuate eminence, the facial nerve hiatus, and the foramen spinosum to MC was 16.6, 12.8 and 7.46 mm respectively. The TG lay 5.81 mm posterior to the foramen ovale. The distance from the abducens, trochlear and oculomotor nerves to the trigeminal ganglion was 1.87, 5.53 and 6.57 mm respectively. The distance from the posterior and the anterior walls of the sigmoid sinus to the trigeminal porus was 43.6 and 33.1 mm respectively. The trigeminal porus was on average 7.19 mm from the anterior wall of the internal acoustic meatus.

CONCLUSION: The anatomical landmarks as presented herein regarding MC may be used for a safer skull base approach to the region.

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