Objective: It is impossible to precisely anticipate the crooked course of the transverse and sigmoid sinuses and their individual relationship to superficial landmarks such as the asterion during retrosigmoid approaches. This study was designed to evaluate this anatomical relationship with the help of a surgical planning system and to analyze the impact of these in vivo findings on trepanation placement in retrosigmoid craniotomies.
Methods: In a consecutive series of 123 patients with pathologies located in the cerebellopontine angle, 72 patients underwent surgical planning for retrosigmoid craniotomies based on 3D volumetric renderings of computed tomography venography. By opacity modulation of surfaces in 3D images the position of the asterion was assessed in relationship to the transverse-sigmoid sinus transition (TST) and compared to its intraoperative localization. We evaluated the impact of this additional information on trepanation placement.
Results: The spatial relationship of the asterion and the underlying TST complex could be identified and recorded in 66 out of 72 cases. In the remaining 6 cases the sutures were ossified and not visible in the 3D CT reconstructions. The asterion was located on top of the TST in 51 cases, above the TST in 4 cases, and below the TST in 11 cases. The location of the trepanation was modified in 27 cases due to the preoperative imaging findings with major and minor modifications in 10 and 17 cases, respectively.
Conclusion: Volume-rendered images provide reliable 3D visualization of complex and hidden anatomical structures in the posterior fossa and thereby increase the precision in retrosigmoid approaches.