Quantitative evaluation of different far lateral approaches to the cranio-vertebral junction using the microscope and the endoscope: a cadaveric study using a tumor model

Pengfei Wu, Roberto Colasanti, Jungshun Lee, Alba Scerrati, Serdar Ercan, Jun Zhang, Mario Ammirati

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Background: Several far lateral approaches have been proposed to deal with cranio-vertebral junction (CVJ) tumors including the basic, transcondylar, and supracondylar far lateral approaches (B-FLA, T-FLA, and S-FLA). However, the indications on when to use one versus the other are not well systematized yet. Our purpose is to evaluate in an experimental cadaveric setting which approach is best suited to remove tumors of different sizes. Methods: We implanted at the CVJ, using a transoral approach, tumor models of different sizes (five 1-cm 3 and five 3-cm 3 tumors) in ten embalmed cadaveric heads. The artificial tumors were exposed via the three approaches using endoscopic-assisted microneurosurgical technique and neuronavigation. The skull base area exposed and the maneuverability linked to each approach were evaluated using neuronavigation. Results: In 1-cm 3 tumors, the T-FLA and the S-FLA exposed a significantly larger skull base area than the B-FLA both using the microscope and the endoscope (P < 0.05); the T-FLA executed with the microscope provided wider vertical and horizontal maneuverability than the B-FLA (P = 0.030 and 0.017, respectively); the S-FLA executed with the endoscope provided wider vertical maneuverability than the T-FLA (P = 0.031). The S-FLA executed using the microscope and the endoscope provided wider vertical maneuverability than the B-FLA both in 1 and 3-cm 3 tumors (P < 0.05). Conclusions: In 1-cm 3 tumors, the S-FLA and the T-FLA expose a wider skull base area than the B-FLA. In larger tumors, the exposure is similar for all three approaches. Use of the endoscope in an assistive mode may further increase the surgical exposure and maneuverability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)695-705
Number of pages11
JournalActa Neurochirurgica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Apr 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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