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Petroclival Meningiomas: A Simple System That Could Help in Selecting the Approach.

BACKGROUND: Petroclival meningiomas (PCM) represent a neurosurgical challenge due to their strategic location close to the brainstem.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the applicability of a retrosigmoid approach (RSA) by analyzing the degree of displacement of the middle cerebellar peduncle (MCP) elicited by PCM.

METHODS: Patients with PCM were prospectively included and divided into those whose imaging studies showed that the posterior end of the MCP was displaced by the tumor and were eligible for and underwent RSA (group A) and those who were not eligible for RSA and who underwent surgery via a posterior transpetrosal approach (group B). We compared tumor behavior, clinical characteristic of patients and surgical results.

RESULTS: Twenty patients with PCM were enrolled and allocated to group A (n = 15) or group B (n = 5). The clinical manifestations were more severe in group B; tumors in this group were larger and gross total removal was achieved in only 1 patient (20%). In comparison, in 12 cases on group A, tumors could be totally removed (80%) and all of these patients could recover their quality of life after surgery.

CONCLUSION: To our knowledge, this study is the first to consider displacement of the MCP when establishing a suitable surgical approach for PCM. Our results suggest that the RSA becomes increasingly suitable when peduncle displacement is greater. By using this method, it was also possible to identify two types of tumors: petroclivals (group A) and clivopetrosals (group B), that show some specific clinical and surgical differences.

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