OBJECTIVE: Complex basilar aneurysms (large size, wide base, low bifurcation, and dysmorphic posteriorly projecting domes) frequently fail endovascular treatment. We report our experience using the pretemporal transzygomatic transcavernous approach with 50 complex basilar aneurysms.
METHODS: Using the pretemporal transcavernous route, opening the occulomotor trigone, and removing the anterior clinoid and the posterior clinoid when necessary, a wide exposure of the interpeduncular fossa is achieved. Temporary clips are applied to a perforator-free zone of the basilar trunk, proximal to the superior cerebellar artery. Complexity criteria in the 50 aneurysms included large or giant size in 27 patients, wide dysmorphic base in 18 patients, low bifurcation in 21 patients, posteriorly projecting dome in 11 patients, and dolichoectasia of the apex in three patients.
RESULTS: Twenty-five patients presented with subarachnoid hemorrhage. There were 14 men and 36 women between the ages of 32 and 76 years (mean, 52.2 yr). Forty-nine aneurysms (98%) were successfully clipped. There was no procedure-related mortality. Two patients died (one from delayed bowel ischemia and one from a vasospasm-related complication). There were three ischemia-related events, two of which were procedure-related (medial thalamic lacunar infarct, superior cerebellar distribution ischemia) and one which was a third distal middle cerebral cardiac embolus after stopping Coumadin (DuPont Pharmaceuticals, Wilmington, DE) for atrial fibrillation. Transient partial or complete occulomotor palsies occurred in all patients with full recovery as the rule, except in one patient. At discharge, Glascow Outcome Scale scores were 4 or 5 in 88% of the patients. At the 6-month follow-up examination, Rankin Outcome Scale scores were 0 to 2 in 92% of the patients.
CONCLUSION: Our experience reintroduces microsurgery as a safe and more durable treatment option for the management of complex basilar apex aneurysms that tend to have a higher rate of failure with endovascular therapy.