A SERIES OF 16 patients with meningiomas of Meckel's cave is reported. Trigeminal neuralgia, typical or atypical, was the initial symptom in 10 patients (62.5%). At admission, trigeminal signs and symptoms were present in 15 patients (93.7%); in 7 patients (43.7%), trigeminal dysfunction was combined with the impairment of other cranial nerves. On retrospective analysis, these patients fall into two clinical groups that differ also in prognosis. Group 1 comprises eight patients with trigeminal signs and symptoms only. These patients had small meningiomas strictly affecting Meckel's cave. Total removal of the tumor was achieved in seven of eight patients, without adjunctive postoperative neurological deficits. In this group, there were no tumor recurrences. Group 2 comprises the other eight patients in whom trigeminal dysfunction was combined with impairment of other cranial nerves. These patients had large tumors arising from Meckel's cave and secondarily invading the cavernous sinus (five patients) or extending into the posterior fossa (two patients) or largely growing into the middle fossa (one patient). Total removal was achieved in only one patient, and a worsening of the preoperative neurological status was observed in four patients; there were three cases of tumor progression. A subtemporal intradural approach (used in the past in every case) is still used for the small tumors of Group 1 with good results. Since 1985, for tumors involving the cavernous sinus, we have employed a frontotemporal craniotomy with extradural clinoidectomy and superior and lateral approach to the cavernous sinus. When the tumor extends toward the posterior fossa, we use a combined temporosuboccipital-transpetrosal approach. These new surgical approaches allow a better exposure of the Meckel's cave lesions and the adjacent neurovascular structures–with encouraging results.
Department of Neurological Sciences-Neurosurgery, Rome University, “La Sapienza,” Rome, Italy
Reprint requests: Gualtiero Innocenzi, M.D., Department of Neurological Sciences-Neurosurgery, Rome University, “La Sapienza,” Viale dell'Università 30/A, 00185 Rome, Italy.
Received, August 14, 1991. Accepted, July 27, 1992.