Four subtypes of petroclival meningiomas: Differences in symptoms and operative findings using the anterior transpetrosal approach

S. Ichimura, T. Kawase, S. Onozuka, K. Yoshida, T. Ohira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


Background. Petroclival meningiomas are vaguely defined as tumours arising from the antero-medial zone to the internal auditory meatus. This report subclassifies petroclival meningiomas based on their origin determined by using radiological and intra-operative findings. Method. Ninety-one patients with petroclival meningioma underwent surgery via the anterior transpetrosal approach. The Meckel's cave was routinely opened. Tumour origin was classified into four subtypes according to the main attachment and trigeminal nerve deviation into, upper clivus (UC), cavernous sinus (CS), tentorium (TE), and petrous apex (PA). Their characteristic clinical symptoms and anatomical features were investigated. Findings. The characteristic symptom was ataxia in the UC type (37.5%), abducens nerve palsy in the CS type (64.3%) and trigeminal neuropathy, mainly neuralgia in the PA type (80.0%) with a higher statistical difference from other subtypes. The rate of tumour invasion into Meckel's cave reached 70.3% in average, with the lowest rate in the PA type (25.0%). The rate of middle fossa extension was the highest in the TE type (59.5%). The middle fossa approach was considered to be ideal for UC and TE types because of easier access to the Meckel's cave. Radical dissection without complications was difficult in the CS type. Both the anterior transpetrosal approach and the lateral suboccipital approach could be indicated in the PA type due to the rare invasion of Meckel's cave and middle fossa, and frequent extension into the internal auditory meatus. Conclusions. This classification is useful to predict the relation between the tumour and the cranial nerves based on symptoms and images. The anterior transpetrosal approach could be used for all four subtypes and with an absolute indication in the UC and TE types showing middle fossa extension.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)637-645
Number of pages9
JournalActa Neurochirurgica
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Jul
Externally publishedYes


  • Anterior transpetrosal approach
  • Classification
  • Meckel's cave
  • Middle fossa
  • Origin
  • Petroclival meningiomas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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