Skull Base 2009; 19(3): 183-191
DOI: 10.1055/s-0028-1096196

© Thieme Medical Publishers

Posterior Clinoidectomy: Dural Tailoring Technique and Clinical Application

A. Samy Youssef1 , Harry R. van Loveren1
  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
31 October 2008 (online)


The posterior clinoid process, a bony prominence at the superolateral aspect of the dorsum sellae, has a strategic importance in a transcavernous approach to basilar tip aneurysms. To further optimize this microsurgical technique during posterior clinoidectomy, we performed a cadaveric study of this regional anatomy, describe a technique called dural tailoring, and report initial results in the surgical treatment of upper basilar artery (BA) aneurysm. After 10 adult cadaver heads (silicone-injected) were prepared for dissection, a posterior clinoidectomy with dural tailoring was performed. The dura overlying the upper clivus was coagulated with bipolar electrocoagulation and incised. Stripping dura off the clivus and lateral reflection then exposed the ipsilateral posterior clinoid process and dorsum sellae, thus creating a dural flap. Posterior clinoidectomy with dural tailoring was then used in seven patients with upper BA aneurysms. Our stepwise modification of the posterior clinoidectomy with dural tailoring created a flap that afforded protection of the cavernous sinus and oculomotor nerve. During surgery, there were no recorded intraoperative injuries to neurovascular structures. One patient died postoperatively from morbidity related to severe-grade subarachnoid hemorrhage. Postoperative oculomotor nerve palsy occurred in 3 patients (43%). In all cases, the nerve was anatomically preserved and partial to complete recovery was recorded during the first postoperative year. This technique effectively provided exposure of retrosellar upper basilar aneurysms in seven patients (basilar tip 43% and superior cerebellar artery aneurysms 57%). Outcomes and safety are at least equivalent to or better than basilar aneurysm surgery performed without surgical adjuncts, presumably a less complex subset.


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A. Samy YoussefM.D. Ph.D. 

Department of Neurosurgery, University of South Florida, 2 A Columbia Drive

7th Floor, Tampa, FL 33606