Meningiomas of the basal posterior fossa. Surgical experience in 80 cases.


Journal Article (Review)

INTRODUCTION: Despite recent improvements in microsurgical and radiotherapy techniques, treatment of basal posterior fossa meningiomas still carries an elevated risk of morbidity. We present our results in a series of patients with this type of tumor and review the recent literature looking for the results obtained with different approaches and the new tendencies and algorithms proposed for managing these challenging lesions. MATERIAL AND METHODS: We analyzed retrospectively the clinical presentation and outcome of 80 patients consecutively operated between 1979 and 2003 for basal posterior fossa meningioma (foramen magnum tumors excluded). All patients had preoperative CT scans and the majority MRI studies. A total of 114 operations were performed including two-stage operations, reoperation for recurrence, CSF diversion, and XII-VII anastomosis. The most commonly used approaches were lateral suboccipital retrosigmoid, subtemporal-transtentorial, frontotemporal pterional and supra-infratentorial presigmoid. Thirteen patients received postoperative radiotherapy. RESULTS: There were 59 (73.7%) women and 21 men (mean age = 51.5 years; range = 18-78 yrs). Most common presenting symptoms were cranial nerve dysfunction, gait disturbances and intracranial hypertension. The mean duration of symptoms was 2.9 years. 70% of the tumors were over 3 cm in size. Fifty patients (62.5%) had a complete resection, 22 (27.5%) subtotal resection (> 90% tumor volume removed), and 8 (10%) only partial resection. Postoperative complications included hematoma, CSF leak, and infection. Fifty four (67.5%) patients developed new or increased cranial nerve deficits and 12.5% somatomotor, somatosensory or cerebellar deficits immediately after surgery with subsequent improvement in most cases. Following initial surgery 67 patients made a good recovery, 10 developed variable degrees of disability and 3 died. Eleven patients died later in the course for tumor recurrence with or without reoperation, malignant meningioma or unrelated causes. There were 9 recurrences in the subgroup of patients having complete resection initially (mean follow-up = 8.6 years). The majority of patients having initial subtotal or partial resections have been managed without reoperation during a mean follow-up period of 6.5 years (radiosurgery and/or observation). DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: Current microsurgical and radiotherapy techniques allow either a cure or an acceptable control of basal posterior fossa meningiomas. In patients with tumor invasion of the cavernous sinus, extracranial extension, violation of the arachnoidal membranes in front of the brainstem, or encasement and infiltration of major arteries, a subtotal excision seems preferable followed by observation and/ or radiosurgical treatment. Apart from the patients age and the clinical presentation (symptomatic or not), the size and secondary extensions of the tumor must be taken into account for planning treatment in the individual patient.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Lobato, RD; Gonzaáez, P; Alday, R; Ramos, A; Lagares, A; Alen, JF; Palomino, JC; Miranda, P; Perez-Nuñez, A; Arrese, I

Published Date

  • December 2004

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 15 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 525 - 542

PubMed ID

  • 15632989

Pubmed Central ID

  • 15632989

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1130-1473

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/s1130-1473(04)70439-x


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Spain