Occipito-cervical fusion following gross total resection for the treatment of spinal extramedullary tumors in craniocervical junction: a retrospective case series
The main difficulty in dealing with intradural lesions located ventrally in the region of the craniovertebral junction (CVJ) is related to their relative inaccessibility. Posterolateral approaches involve some manipulation of the brain stem and provide limited access because of the necessity of working between the cranial nerves. Even then, the view of the ventral midline and across is limited. The transoral approach, which has been widely used for the management of extradural lesions in this area, is also useful for the treatment of intradural lesions. It provides an unimpeded although somewhat restricted, view of the ventral aspect of the CVJ without the need for brain retraction. The cranial nerves and vertebral arteries are not interposed between the surgeon and the lesion. The risks of cerebrospinal fluid leakage and infection are greatly diminished by the use of fibrin adhesive and prolonged diversion of the cerebrospinal fluid. The use of this approach, together with its technical difficulties and results, in the management of seven purely intradural lesions located ventrally at the CVJ, is discussed.