Article Abstract

Versatility of sub-occipital approach for foramen magnum meningiomas: a single centre experience

Authors: Antonio Bocchetti, Valentina Cioffi, Cristian Gragnaniello, Raffaele de Falco


Background: Foramen magnum meningiomas (FMM) represent a challenge for neurosurgeons. Multiple surgical strategies have been reported to treat these lesions in their variable location. Contemporary technical innovations allow the utilization of common sub-occipital craniotomy to treat ventrally, ventro-laterally and dorsally located FMMs. We present our technique and experience.
Methods: From November 2004 to November 2015, we treated 14 patients with FMM at the Department of Neurosurgery of the Santa Maria delle Grazie Hospital in Pozzuoli, Naples, Italy. There were 10 females and 4 males, with a mean age of 64.5 years (range, 55–77 years). All patients had high field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with contrast enhancement preoperatively, which led to the radiological diagnosis. A sub-occipital craniotomy was performed in all patients as well as the removal of the posterior arch of C1. Partial removal of C2 was necessary in 2 patients. Neck pain was the most common symptom of presentation. Paraparesis was present in patients in 3 patients. Upper limbs dysesthesia or pain existed in 3 cases.
Results: Thirty days after surgery neck pain and dysesthesia decreased in all patients affected. Neurological improvement was observed in 2 patients affected by weakness in lower limbs at 6 months follow up. Paraparesis was unchanged in 1 patient. Two patients presented transient worsening after surgery. Transient dysphagia occurred in one case and postoperative hemorrhage with subsequent surgery in another patient. We had no postoperative mortality.
Conclusions: FMM surgery should be tailored to the lesion at hand as in most instances it is possible to avoid the use of extensive skull base approaches.