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Skull Base. 2011 Sep;21(5):329-34. doi: 10.1055/s-0031-1284215.

Petrous carotid exposure with eustachian tube preservation: a morphometric elucidation.

Author information

1
Department of Neurosurgery, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-S, Shreveport, Louisiana.

Abstract

Inadvertent injury to eustachian tube leading to cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea is a known complication associated with drilling of Glasscock's triangle to expose the horizontal petrous internal carotid artery (ICA) for management of difficult tumors (especially malignant) or aneurysms at the cranial base. Contrary to the usual approach, we hypothesize that a "medial-to-lateral" approach to Glasscock's triangle drilling will minimize eustachian tube injury. Four formalin-fixed human cadaveric heads were dissected, and underwent appropriate morphometric analysis; yielding a total of eight datasets. The diameter of the horizontal petrous ICA exposed was 4.7 ± 0.9 mm (range, 3.8 to 5.6 mm).The mean distance from the medial carotid wall midpoint to the medial-most point on the eustachian tube was 6.35 ± 0.58 mm (range, 5.4 to 7.1 mm), yielding a "safety zone" for eustachian tube, ranging 0.2 to 1.9 mm lateral to the lateral carotid wall. With the medial-to-lateral approach, the eustachian tube remained preserved in all the specimens. The results of our study provide a practical, consistent, and safe method of maximizing horizontal petrous carotid artery exposure while minimizing the eustachian tube injury.

KEYWORDS:

Petrous; carotid; eustachian tube; morphometric

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