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Surgical Clipping Of Complex Basilar Apex Aneurysms: A Strategy For Successful Outcome Using The Pretemporal Transzygomatic Transcavernous Approach

Ali F. Krisht, Paulo A.S. Kadri

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Abstract OBJECTIVE: Complex basilar apex aneurysms (large size, wide and complex neck, tortuous parent vessels) continue to pose a challenge in treatment. Endovascular treatment has a high risk of recanalization, and surgical treatment is limited by the space and time necessary to achieve safe clipping. To overcome these obstacles, a modification of previously reported approaches was developed. The pretemporal transzygomatic transcavernous approach and a clipping strategy were used in the treatment of 21 high-complexity basilar apex aneurysms. METHODS: By use of the pretemporal route, the zygomatic notch was widened, the anterior clinoid was removed, the cavernous sinus was partially exposed, and the oculomotor nerve was mobilized. The depth of the field was widened by further cavernous exposure and the removal of the posterior clinoid. Temporary clips were applied to the basilar trunk perforator-free zone to preserve visualization of the aneurysm neck and perforators and to maintain collateral flow to the brainstem. RESULTS: Twenty-one high-complexity basilar apex aneurysms, 11 of which caused subarachnoid hemorrhage, were treated. Twenty (95%) were successfully clipped (Glasgow Outcome Scale scores, 4 or 5 in 90.5% at discharge; Rankin Disability Score, 1 in 90.5% at 1-yr follow-up). Complications were transient oculomotor palsy in all patients, small thalamic infarct in one patient, and cerebrospinal fluid leak in another. There was no surgical mortality. Delayed follow-up angiography in 19 of the 21 patients showed no residual aneurysm. CONCLUSION: We report the largest series of a unique, challenging group of complex basilar apex aneurysms treated with the pretemporal transzygomatic transcavernous approach, which provided improved safety of clipping by 1) increased visualization of the basilar apex and perforator arteries, 2) improved maneuverability of clip application, 3) a safer perforator-free location, and 4) preservation of brainstem collateral flow.