The ability to resect meningiomas that involve the medial and anterior compartments of the cavernous sinus has been refuted. In this retrospective study, we determined the efficacy of total resection of meningiomas that invade the cavernous sinus but are restricted to the lateral compartment.
We reviewed the charts of 38 consecutive patients with sphenocavernous, clinoidocavernous, and sphenoclinoidocavernous meningiomas who underwent surgical treatment. We assessed early and late cranial nerve morbidity, extent of resection, and long-term outcome (mean, 96 mo).
In all patients, tumors exceeded 3 cm diameter. In 22 of 24 patients, total microscopic excision was achieved in tumors that involved only the lateral compartment of the cavernous sinus and touched or partially encased the cavernous internal carotid artery (i.e., modified Hirsch Grades 0 and 1, respectively). In 2 of 24 patients, remaining tumor infiltrated the superior orbital fissure. All 14 patients who had tumors that encased (with or without narrowing) the cavernous segment of the internal carotid artery (Hirsch Grades 2–4) underwent incomplete resection. Among 38 patients, mortality was 0%, late cranial nerve deficits remained in 6 (16%), and late Karnofsky Performance Scale scores exceeded 90 in 34 patients (90%). Four patients (10.5%) developed a recurrence or regrowth. Of 20 patients who were treated with either linear accelerator-based stereotactic radiosurgery or fractionated conformal radiotherapy, 11 had residual tumor and a moderate to high proliferative index, 4 had atypical tumors and 1 had angioblastic meningioma after total excision, 2 had regrowth, and 2 had recurrent tumors. In 18 (90%) of the 20 patients who underwent radiation, tumor size was reduced or controlled.
On the basis of this study and a review of the literature, we demonstrate that sphenocavernous, clinoidocavernous, and sphenoclinoidocavernous meningiomas of Hirsch Grades 0 and 1 can be excised from the lateral compartment of the cavernous sinus without postoperative mortality and with acceptable rates of morbidity. Residual tumor in the medial compartment (Hirsch Grades 2–4) may be treated with some form of radiation therapy or observation.