Image-guided lateral suboccipital approach: Part 2 - Impact on complication rates and operation times

Alireza Gharabaghi, Steffen K. Rosahl, Guenther C. Feigl, Sam Safavi-Abbasi, Javad M. Mirzayan, Stefan Heckl, Ramin Shahidi, Marcos Tatagiba, Madjid Samii

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Image-guidance systems are widely available for surgical planning and intraoperative navigation. Recently, three-dimensional volumetric image rendering technology that increasingly applies in navigation systems to assist neurosurgical planning, e.g., for cranial base approaches. However, there is no systematic clinical study available that focuses on the impact of this image-guidance technology on outcome parameters in suboccipital craniotomies. METHODS: A total of 200 patients with pathologies located in the cerebellopontine angle were reviewed, 100 of whom underwent volumetric neuronavigation and 100 of whom underwent treatment without intraoperative image guidance. This retrospective study analyzed the impact of image guidance on complication rates (venous sinus injury, venous air embolism, postoperative morbidity caused by venous air embolism) and operation times for the lateral suboccipital craniotomies performed with the patient in the semi-sitting position. RESULT: This study demonstrated a 4% incidence of injury to the transverse-sigmoid sinus complex in the image-guided group compared with a 15% incidence in the non-image-guided group. Venous air embolisms were detected in 8% of the image-guided patients and in 19% of the non-image-guided patients. These differences in terms of complication rates were significant for both venous sinus injury and venous air embolism (P < 0.05). There was no difference in postoperative morbidity secondary to venous air embolism between both groups. The mean time for craniotomy was 21 minutes in the image-guided group and 39 minutes in non-image-guided group (P = 0.036). CONCLUSION: Volumetric image guidance provides fast and reliable three-dimensional visualization of sinus anatomy in the posterior fossa, thereby significantly increasing speed and safety in lateral suboccipital approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)ONS24-ONS29
Issue number3 SUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • Complications
  • Operation time
  • Sigmoid sinus
  • Suboccipital approach
  • Three-dimensional volumetric image guidance
  • Transverse sinus
  • Venous air embolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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