Fronto-temporo-orbito-zygomatic approach and variants: Surgical technique and indications

A. Santoro, M. Salvati, T. Vangelista, R. Delfini, G. P. Cantore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim. In the last decade, development and refinement of skull base surgery have widened the surgical options available for treatment of mtracramal lesions. Despite the enormous advances made m microsurgical technique, the bony phase is still extremely important for achievmg optimal exposure of vascular and tumoral skull base lesions. The role of anterolateral approaches for such lesions is discussed. Methods. We collected 87 consecutive patients with 74 neoplasms and 13 vascular lesions involving the floor of the antenor and/or middle cranial fossae, cavernous sinus, orbit, petrous bone, clivus, parasellar region and infratemporal fossa operated throughout 8 and a half years by means of an anterolateral approach and we evaluated the results obtained employing different craniotomies. Results. To simplify the parameters for evaluation of outcome, we considered 2 main aspects: comparison between pre- and postoperative neurological status and the extent of tumour removal on MR imaging. For vascular lesions, we took into consideration the neurological outcome and the successful clipping of the aneurysm or disappearance of the AVM (1 case) on postoperative angiography. Satisfactory surgical results were obtained with each type of craniotomy employed (fronto-teniporo-orbito-zygomatic, fronto-temporo-orbital, fronto-temporo-zygomatic, fronto-orbito-zygomatic). Conclusion. On the whole, surgical results were satisfactory. By deliberately excluding the microsurgical aspects of the lesions treated, we can observe that the fronto-temporo-orbito-zygomatic approach is principally indicated for lesions requiring a multidirectional approach such as spheno-petro-clival tumours, aneurysms of the basilar tip and intracavemous lesions while the fronto-temporo-orbital approach proved excellent for more medial lesions such as meningiomas of the luberculum sellae and cramopharyngiomas. The fronto-temporo-zygomatic approach is our 1st choice for neoplasms involving the Gassenan ganglion and the intratemporal fossa. For lesions of the orbital apex, a fronto-orbito-zygomatic approach can be successfully employed. Introduction of these approaches is relatively recent but promises a further refinement of their indications and surgical technique aimed at mimmismg postoperative morbidity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-147
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurosurgical Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2003


  • Brain neoplasms, surgery
  • Craniotomy, methods
  • Osteotomy, methods
  • Skull base, surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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