Background: Practice patterns regarding the preoperative embolization of skull base tumors vary widely among institutions and are driven by surgeon preference and concerns about safety.
Objective: We present a recent experience at our institution with a specific focus on procedural decision-making, embolization of vessels arising from the internal carotid circulation, and complication rates.
Methods: During a 7.5-year period, 262 meningiomas were referred for embolization. of which 119 (45%) originated from the skull base. Tumors were categorized by location, feeding artery origin, and arteries embolized. Complication rates were reviewed.
Results: Sixty-four of 119 patients with skull base tumors (54%) underwent embolization of at least 1 feeding artery. Feeding arteries arose from the external carotid artery (ECA) circulation in 26 (22%), the internal carotid artery (ICA) circulation in 30 (25%), a combination of ECA/ICA/Vert in 54 (45%), and had only pial supply in 10 (8%). In total, 15 of 85 (18%) ICA feeding vessels were embolized. This included 9 of 28 vessels from the meningohypopheseal trunk, 3 of 4 vessels from the anterior temporal artery, 1 of 35 vessels from the ophthalmic artery, 1 of 8 vessels directly from the ICA, and 1 of 5 vessels from the inferolateral trunk. Complete devascularization occurred in 6 of 64 patients; subtotal devascularization was seen in 58 of 64. The overall angiographic complication rate for all meningiomas embolized in the study period was 2.5% (5/199). None of the complications occurred in the skull base group.
Conclusion: Preoperative embolization of skull base meningiomas and ICA feeding vessels can be done with low complication rates when intraprocedural decision-making favors complication avoidance over complete devascularization.