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A Contemporary Clinico-Anatomical Guide to Craniovertebral Junction Surgery
Background Surgical treatment of ventral and ventrolateral lesions of the craniocervical junction are among the most challenging neurosurgical pathologies to treat. Three surgical techniques, the far lateral approach (and its variations), the anterolateral approach, and the endoscopic far medial approach can be used to approach and resect lesions in this area.
Objective The aim of the study is to examine the surgical anatomy of three skull base approaches to the craniocervical junction and review surgical cases to better understand the indications and possible complications for each of these approaches.
Methods Cadaveric dissections with standard microsurgical and endoscopic instruments were performed for each of the three surgical approaches, and key steps and surgically relevant anatomy were documented. Six patients with appropriate pre-, post-, and intraoperative imaging and video documentation are presented and discussed accordingly.
Results Based on our institutional experience, all three approaches can be utilized to safely and effectively approach a wide variety of neoplastic and vascular pathology. Unique anatomical characteristics, lesion morphology and size, and tumor biology should all be considered when determining the optimal approach.
Conclusion Preoperative assessment of surgical corridors with 3D illustrations helps to define the best surgical corridor. 360 degree knowledge of the anatomy of craniovertebral junction allows safe surgical approach and treatment of ventral and ventrolateral located lesions using one of the three approaches.
Keywordscraniocervical junction - far lateral approach - far medial approach - anterolateral approach
Received: 01 April 2022
Accepted: 20 June 2022
Article published online:
28 September 2022
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