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Seventeen patients with petroelival and foramen magnum meningiomas encasing the vertebral or basilar arteries and their branches were surgically excised over a 3-year period. All six cases with vertebral artery encasement were totally excised. One vertebral artery was occluded, one was repaired, and one was replaced with a vein graft. None of the patients had a permanent major neurologic deficit. In one patient with vertebral and basilar artery encasement, a hypoplastic vertebral artery was occluded and the tumor was totally excised. She had a transient worsening of hemiparesis, presumably due to the dissection of tumor from the brainstem. Among the ten patients with encasement of the basilar artery and branches, injury to the basilar artery occurred in two patients, both were repaired. Injuries to one superior cerebellar artery, one anterior inferior cerebellar artery, and one perforating vessel could not be repaired. Three patients sustained major neurologic deficits, but only in two did this result in permanent functional deterioration. Three of the ten patients had a gross total resection, five had subtotal resection (90% or more of tumor volume), and two had resection of 70% of the tumor volume. Eight patients had improvement in their Karnofsky scores. None showed recurrence or regrowth on follow-up ranging from 2 to 6 years. Greater difficulty with dissection was experienced in previously operated patients, and in patients who did not have an arachnoid plane between the brainstem and the tumor. Magnetic resonance imaging was the most useful preoperative test. It is concluded that meningiomas with vertebrobasilar artery encasement can be removed successfully with modern skull base surgery techniques. The surgeon needs to exercise caution and judgment in deciding how far the removal of these lesions should be pursued.