This study reviewed the experience and outcomes of 1 surgical team (L.S.P., S.P.L.) using the transcrusal approach.
Ten-year retrospective review of 17 consecutive patients requiring transcrusal exposure of the petrous apex and upper brainstem was performed. The main outcome measures included hearing and facial nerve preservation as measured by standard audiography and postoperative assessment using the House-Brackmann scale.
Operative indications included meningioma (5 patients), epidermoid/dermoid cyst (3 patients), trigeminal schwannoma (3 patients), giant or large upper basilar artery aneurysm (3 patients), pontine cavernoma (1 patient), chondrosarcoma (1 patient), and clival melanocytoma (1 patient). Average tumor size was 3.6 cm. Complete resection was achieved in 50% of patients with petroclival tumors. Follow-up data were obtained for 14 patients at 20 +/- 4 months. Serviceable hearing was preserved in 58%. Sixty-four percent of patients demonstrated House-Brackmann stage I facial nerve function. Two patients died perioperatively (brainstem infarction). Two patients became hemiparetic, with 1 improving substantially. CSF leaks developed in 3 patients. Forty-seven percent of patients demonstrated cranial nerve V deficits. Forty-one percent of patients demonstrated deficits of cranial nerve III, IV, or VI. Vertigo, vestibular disturbance, hydrocephalus, temporal lobe contusion, or hematoma did not develop in any patients.
The transcrusal approach provides adequate exposure for most petroclival lesions and giant aneurysms of the upper basilar artery while offering the possibility of hearing preservation. Like all approaches to large tumors and aneurysms in this region, there is a significant risk of morbidity and mortality. However, this approach is an excellent alternative to other techniques that necessitate deliberate sacrifice of ipsilateral hearing.