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Neurosurgery. 2010 Mar;66(3 Suppl):119-25. doi: 10.1227/01.NEU.0000365748.00721.0B.

Transoral approaches to the cervical spine.

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Department of Neurosurgery, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, Maryland 21287, USA.


A number of anterior approaches to the craniocervical junction have been described to allow exposure to the midline and lateral aspects of both the cranial base and upper cervical spine. The transoral-transpharyngeal approach, a technique that is well known to many spine surgeons, provides surgical access to the anterior clivus, C1, and C2. Transoral approaches provide the fundamental anatomy and technique upon which the more complex jaw-splitting approaches are based. This article discusses fundamental concepts regarding anatomy, perioperative considerations, and technical aspects critical to this important approach to the craniocervical junction. The transoral-transpharyngeal approach remains the "gold standard" for anterior approaches to the cervical spine. Endoscopic endonasal and endoscopic transcervical approaches are promising alternatives that may become more mainstream as experience with these approaches increases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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