Journal of Neurosurgery, Ahead of Print.
OBJECTIVESurgical exposure and decompression of the entire trigeminal nerve in a conventional lateral supracerebellar approach can be challenging because of blockages from the superior petrosal vein complex, cerebellum, and vestibulocochlear nerve. The authors demonstrate a novel suprafloccular approach via the petrosal fissure and venous corridors that can be used as a substitute for the conventional route used to treat trigeminal neuralgia and present a consecutive series of patients and their clinical outcomes.METHODSPreoperative and postoperative clinical data from 420 patients who underwent this modified approach at Hangzhou First People’s Hospital between March 2012 and May 2014 were reviewed. The technique expands the working space by opening the petrosal fissure and dissecting adhesions between the vein of the cerebellopontine fissure and the simple lobule as needed. Via 3 surgical corridors, the entire trigeminal nerve is exposed and decompressed thoroughly with minimal retraction of the surrounding vital structures.RESULTSThe medial one-third of the trigeminal nerve accounted for the majority (275 [65.5%] cases) of neurovascular conflict sites. The lateral corridor was used in 219 (52.1%) cases, the medial corridor was used in 175 (41.7%) cases, and the intermediate corridor was used in 26 (6.2%) cases. The entire trigeminal nerve in each patient was accessed directly and decompressed properly. At the end of the 24-month follow-up period, the rate of excellent results (Kondo score of T0 or T1) was stable at approximately 90.5%. No complications were related directly to petrosal vein or vestibulocochlear nerve injury.CONCLUSIONSBased on data from the large patient series, the authors found this suprafloccular approach via the petrosal fissure and venous corridors provides full exposure and decompression of the entire trigeminal nerve, a high cure rate, and a low neurovascular morbidity rate.