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En bloc resection of the temporal bone was performed by the lateral approach on two patients with carcinoma of the middle ear, which was associated with destruction in the temporal bone and tumor infiltration of the cranial base. In one of the patients, the petrous apex was resected along with the temporal bone.
En bloc resection on the temporal bone with the petrous apex is believed to be difficult because the internal carotid artery (ICA), cavernous sinus, and the brainstem are adjacent to each other in the petrous apex. However, the intra- and extracranial surgical procedures by this approach allow resection of the temporal bone ranging from the anterior part including the petrous apex to the posterior part including the mastoid process, the dura of the middle and posterior cranial fossae, and the sigmoid sinus, without exposure of the tumor. Special attention should be paid to the procedural points of surgery, such as, exposure of the petrous ICA, bleeding from the petrous sinus, and dural suturing in the vicinity of the apex. With regard to surgical indication, it is important to determine whether tumor infiltration is confined to the temporal bone and the dura of the middle and posterior fossa. If tumor infiltration into the petrous ICA, the dominant side of sigmoid sinus and/or the inferior cranial nerve is observed, then indication for surgery should be determined in a more critical manner.