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Skull base surgery. 1994 October; 4(4): 177–180.
PMCID: PMC1661808

The Extreme Lateral Transcondylar Approach to Aneurysms of the Vertebrobasilar Junction, the Vertebral Artery, and the Posterior Inferior Cerebellar Artery


The unilateral suboccipital craniotomy is the commonly performed approach to aneurysms of the vertebrobasilar junction, the vertebral artery, and the posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA). Many of these aneurysms are placed anterior or anterolateral to the brain stem, necessitating brain stem retraction for adequate exposure. Small dorsolateral enlargement of the foramen magnum, partial resection of the occipital condyle, and removal of the jugular tubercle allow access to the neurovascular structures ventral to the medulla without retraction of the neuroaxis. This extreme lateral transcondylar approach was performed in 20 patients with aneurysms of the vertebrobasilar junction, the vertebral artery, and the PICA; intraoperatively, two suspected aneurysms proved to be vascular malformations. Occlusion of the aneurysm and vascular malformation was successfully performed in 16 patients, resection of the vascular malformation was achieved in 1 patient, and the vertebral artery was clipped in 3 patients with fusiform aneurysms without complications related to the extreme lateral transcondylar approach. Unobstructed exposure of the aneurysm, parent artery, and neural structures without retraction of the sensitive lower brain stem are the major advantages of the extreme lateral transcondylar approach.

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Selected References

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