Extended transoral approaches: Surgical technique and analysis

Department of Neurosurgery, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA.
Neurosurgery (Impact Factor: 3.62). 03/2010; 66(3 Suppl):126-34. DOI: 10.1227/01.NEU.0000366117.04095.EC
Source: PubMed


The transoral approach provides the most direct exposure to extradural lesions of the ventral craniovertebral junction. Lesions that extend beyond the exposure provided by the standard transoral approach require an extended transoral modification. The exposure can be expanded in the sagittal and axial planes by adding mandibulotomy, mandibuloglossotomy, palatotomy, and transmaxillary approaches to the standard transoral approach. Extended transoral approaches increase the surgical complexity and the risk of cosmetic and functional complications. Until recently, selection of an extended approach has been arbitrary and dependent on the surgeon's familiarity with the surgical approach.
We review the literature of extended transoral approaches and analyze the different modifications in terms of the technical aspects, added exposure, and complications.
Classic approaches and recently published morphometric studies that objectively document the gain in exposure provided by several modifications were analyzed and tabulated to outline the limits of exposure and risk of complications associated with the various modifications.
Transmaxillary approaches expand the exposure to include the sphenoid sinus and upper lateral clivus. To expand the exposure more inferiorly to C4-C5, mandibulotomy or mandibuloglossotomy can be applied. Mandibuloglossotomy increases the rostral exposure as well to the upper third of the clivus. Palatotomy increases rostral exposure without requiring a facial incision or perioperative tracheostomy, but is associated with a significant risk of velopharyngeal insufficiency.
Surgical decisions can be based on comprehensive preoperative evaluation of anatomy, pathology, and radiographic studies to maximize exposure while minimizing complications.

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