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Skull Base. 2001 November; 11(4): 265–275.
PMCID: PMC1656882

Extreme Lateral Approach to Ventral and Ventrolaterally Situated Lesions of the Lower Brainstem and Upper Cervical Cord


Lesions situated ventrally and ventrolaterally to the lower brainstem and upper cervical spinal cord test the skills of neurosurgeons. We present our experience with eight such patients who underwent the extreme lateral craniocervical approach. The pathologies encountered include three distal vertebral aneurysms, one prepontine epidermoid, one anterior foramen magnum meningioma, and three high cervical dumbbell neurofibromas. All lesions were treated effectively. Postoperatively, the patients improved significantly. Complications included transient lower cranial nerve paresis in three patients, meningitis in one patient, and a pseudomeningocele in two patients. All complications improved with therapy. We conclude that the extreme lateral approach offers excellent visualization and access with minimal neural retraction for treating these difficult lesions.

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Selected References

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