The transcallosal-transforaminal approach to the third ventricle with regard to the venous variations in this region

J Neurosurg. 1997 Nov;87(5):706-15. doi: 10.3171/jns.1997.87.5.0706.


Surgical approaches to lesions located in the anterior and middle portions of the third ventricle are challenging, even for experienced neurosurgeons. Various exposures involving the foramen of Monro, the choroidal fissure, the fornices, and the lamina terminalis have been advocated in numerous publications. The authors conducted a microsurgical anatomical study in 20 cadaveric brain specimens (40 hemispheres) to identify an exposure of the third ventricle that would avoid compromising vital structures. An investigation of the variations in the subependymal veins of the lateral ventricle in the region of the foramen of Monro was performed, as these structures are intimately associated with the surgical exposure of the third ventricle. In 16 (80%) of the brain specimens studied, 19 (47.5%) of the hemispheres displayed a posterior location of the anterior septal vein-internal cerebral vein (ASV-ICV) junction, 3 to 13 mm (average 6 mm) beyond the foramen of Monro within the velum interpositum, not adjacent to the posterior margin of the foramen of Monro (the classic description). Based on this finding, the authors advocate opening the choroidal fissure as far as the ASV-ICV junction to enlarge the foramen of Monro posteriorly. This technique achieves adequate access to the anterior and middle portions of the third ventricle without causing injury to vital neural or vascular structures. The high incidence of posteriorly located ASV-ICV junctions is a significant factor influencing the successful course of surgery. Precise planning of the surgical approach is possible, because the location of the junction is revealed on preoperative neuroradiological studies, in particular on magnetic resonance venography. It can therefore be determined in advance which foramen of Monro qualifies for posterior enlargement to gain the widest possible access to the third ventricle. This technique was applied in three patients with a third ventricular tumor, and knowledge of the venous variations in this region was an important resource in guiding the operative exposure.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cadaver
  • Cerebral Ventricles / blood supply*
  • Cerebral Ventricles / surgery*
  • Craniopharyngioma / complications
  • Craniopharyngioma / surgery*
  • Diabetes Insipidus / etiology
  • Humans
  • Hypogonadism / etiology
  • Male
  • Neurosurgery / methods
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / complications
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Veins*