Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
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360° around the orbit: key surgical anatomy of the microsurgical and endoscopic cranio-orbital and orbitocranial approaches.

OBJECTIVE: Several pathologies either invade or arise within the orbit. These include meningiomas, schwannomas, and cavernous hemangiomas among others. Although several studies describing various approaches to the orbit are available, no study describes all cranio-orbital and orbitocranial approaches with clear, surgically oriented anatomical descriptions. As such, this study aimed to provide a comprehensive guide to the microsurgical and endoscopic approaches to and through the orbit.

METHODS: Six formalin-fixed, latex-injected cadaveric head specimens were dissected in the surgical anatomy laboratory at the authors' institution. In each specimen, the following approaches were modularly performed: endoscopic transorbital approaches (ETOAs), including a lateral transorbital approach and a superior eyelid crease approach; endoscopic endonasal approaches (EEAs), including those to the medial orbit and optic canal; and transcranial approaches, including a supraorbital approach, a fronto-orbital approach, and a 3-piece orbito-zygomatic approach. Each pertinent step was 3D photograph-documented with macroscopic and endoscopic techniques as previously described.

RESULTS: Endoscopic endonasal approaches to the orbit afforded excellent access to the medial orbit and medial optic canal. Regarding ETOAs, the lateral transorbital approach afforded excellent access to the floor of the middle fossa and, once the lateral orbital rim was removed, the cavernous sinus could be dissected and the petrous apex drilled. The superior eyelid approach provides excellent access to the anterior cranial fossa just superior to the orbit, as well as the dura of the lesser wing of the sphenoid. Craniotomy-based approaches provided excellent access to the anterior and middle cranial fossa and the cavernous sinus, except the supraorbital approach had limited access to the middle fossa.

CONCLUSIONS: This study outlines the essential surgical steps for major cranio-orbital and orbitocranial approaches. Endoscopic endonasal approaches offer direct medial access, potentially providing bilateral exposure to optic canals. ETOAs serve as both orbital access and as a corridor to surrounding regions. Cranio-orbital approaches follow a lateral-to-medial, superior-to-inferior trajectory, progressively allowing removal of protective bony structures for proportional orbit access.

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