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Surgical Nuances For Removal Of Retrochiasmatic Craniopharyngiomas Via The Transbasal Subfrontal Translamina Terminalis Approach

James K. Liu, Lana D. Christiano, Gaurav Gupta, Peter W. Carmel

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Giant craniopharyngiomas in the retrochiasmatic space are challenging tumors, given the location and surrounding vital structures. Surgical removal remains the first line of therapy and offers the best chance of cure. For tumors with extension into the retrochiasmatic space, the authors use the translamina terminalis corridor via the transbasal subfrontal approach. Although the lamina terminalis can be accessed via anterolateral approaches (pterional or orbitozygomatic), the surgical view of the optic chiasm is oblique and prevents adequate visualization of the ipsilateral wall of the third ventricle. The transbasal subfrontal approach, on the other hand, offers the major advantage of direct midline orientation and access to the third ventricle through the lamina terminalis. This provides the significant advantage of visualization of both walls of the third ventricle and hypothalamus as well as inferior midline access to the interpeduncular cistern to permit safe neurovascular dissection and total tumor removal. In this report, the authors describe the transbasal subfrontal translamina terminalis approach, with specific emphasis on technical surgical nuances in removing retrochiasmatic craniopharyngiomas. An illustrative video demonstrating the technique is also presented.