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Neurosurg Focus. 2008;25(6):E4. doi: 10.3171/FOC.2008.25.12.E4.

The work horse of skull base surgery: orbitozygomatic approach. Technique, modifications, and applications.

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  • 1Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.



The aim of this study was to describe the microsurgical anatomy of the orbitozygomatic craniotomy and its modifications, and detail the stepwise dissection of the temporalis fascia and muscle and explain the craniotomy techniques involved in these approaches.


Nine cadaveric embalmed heads injected with colored silicone were used to demonstrate a stepwise dissection of the 3 variations of orbitozygomatic craniotomy. The craniotomies and dissections were performed with standard surgical instruments, and the microsurgical anatomy was studied under microscopic magnification and illumination.


The authors performed 2-piece, 1-piece, and supraorbital orbitozygomatic craniotomies in 3 cadaveric heads each. Stepwise dissection of the temporalis fascia and muscle, and osteotomy cuts were shown and the relevant microsurgical anatomy of the anterior and middle fossae was demonstrated in cadaveric heads. Surgical case examples were also presented to demonstrate the application of and indications for the orbitozygomatic approach.


The orbitozygomatic approach provides access to the anterior and middle cranial fossae as well as the deep sellar and basilar apex regions. Increased bone removal from the skull base obviates the need for vigorous brain retraction and offers an improved multiangled trajectory and shallower operative field. Modifications to the orbitozygomatic approach provide alternatives that can be tailored to particular lesions, enabling the surgeon to use the best technique in each individual case rather than a "one size fits all" approach.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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