Objective: To define the difference of meningiomas that originate in the area of Meckel's cave (MC) (primary MC meningiomas) in regard to the different surgical approaches and postoperative results.
Methods: A retrospective analysis of all meningiomas involving the cranial base displayed 21 cases of meningiomas originating in MC (primary MC meningiomas). These cases were classified according to the tumor extension in four different types: Type I, tumors mainly confined to MC; Type II, MC meningiomas with extension into the middle fossa; Type III, MC meningiomas with extension into the posterior fossa; and Type IV, MC meningiomas with extension into both middle and posterior fossae.
Results: Trigeminal neuralgia resolved in all cases in this series, despite tumor type. Trigeminal hypesthesia showed postoperative improvement only in Type III MC meningiomas. In Types I and III, total removal without further morbidity was frequently achieved. Cavernous sinus infiltration, especially in Types II and IV, limited (in some cases) the extent of tumor extirpation.
Conclusion: Types I, II, and III MC meningiomas have a good prognosis. In most cases, very good outcomes are achieved. Radical tumor removal can usually be achieved without further morbidity and with postoperative improvement of the preexisting symptoms, especially in Types I and III MC meningiomas. On the contrary, Type IV MC meningiomas are usually only subtotally resected. Surgery in such cases may carry a high risk of additional morbidity, especially with regard to the IIIrd, IVth, and VIth cranial nerves. The postoperative outcome regarding facial pain in cases of all tumor types is usually very good. Trigeminal hypesthesia may persist after tumor removal in the majority of cases.