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BACKGROUND: Pituitary adenomas (PAs) with cavernous sinus (CS) invasion can extend into the intradural space by breaking through the CS walls.OBJECTIVE: To elaborate on the potential breakthrough route through CS compartments for invasive PAs and describe relevant surgical anatomy and technical nuances, with an aim to improve resection rates.METHODS: Twelve colored silicon-injected human head specimens were used for endonasal and transcranial dissection of the CS walls; ligaments, dural folds, and cranial nerves on each compartment were inspected. Two illustrative cases of invasive PA are also presented.RESULTS: The potential breakthrough routes through the CS compartments had unique anatomic features. The superior compartment breakthrough was delimited by the anterior petroclinoidal ligament laterally, posterior petroclinoidal ligament posteriorly, and interclinoidal ligament medially; tumor extended into the parapeduncular space with an intimate spatial relationship with the oculomotor nerve and posterior communicating artery. The lateral compartment breakthrough was limited by the anterior petroclinoidal ligament superiorly and ophthalmic nerve inferiorly; tumor extended into the middle fossa, displacing the trochlear nerve and inferolateral trunk to reach the medial temporal lobe. The posterior compartment breakthrough delineated by the Gruber ligament, petrosal process of the sphenoid bone, and petrous apex inferiorly, posterior petroclinoidal ligament superiorly, and dorsum sellae medially; tumor displaced or encased the abducens nerve and inferior hypophyseal artery and compressed the cerebral peduncle.CONCLUSION: The superior lateral and posterior components of the CS are potential routes for invasion by PAs. Better identification of CS breakthrough patterns is crucial for achieving higher gross total resection and remission rates.
View details for DOI 10.1227/ons.0000000000000291
View details for PubMedID 35838451