Contralateral supracerebellar-infratentorial approach for resection of thalamic cavernous malformations

Justin Mascitelli, Jan Karl Burkhardt, Sirin Gandhi, Michael T. Lawton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Surgical resection of cavernous malformations (CM) in the posterior thalamus, pineal region, and midbrain tectum is technically challenging owing to the presence of adjacent eloquent cortex and critical neurovascular structures. Various supracerebellar infratentorial (SCIT) approaches have been used in the surgical armamentarium targeting lesions in this region, including the median, paramedian, and extreme lateral variants. Surgical view of a posterior thalamic CM from the traditional ipsilateral vantage point may be obscured by occipital lobe and tentorium. OBJECTIVE: To describe a novel surgical approach via a contralateral SCIT (cSCIT) trajectory for resecting posterior thalamic CMs. METHODS: From 1997 to 2017, 75 patients underwent the SCIT approach for cerebrovascular/oncologic pathology by the senior author. Of these, 30 patients underwent the SCIT approach for CM resection, and 3 patients underwent the cSCIT approach. Historical patient data, radiographic features, surgical technique, and postoperative neurological outcomes were evaluated in each patient. RESULTS: All 3 patients presented with symptomatic CMs within the right posterior thalamus with radiographic evidence of hemorrhage. All surgeries were performed in the sitting position. There were no intraoperative complications. Neuroimaging demonstrated complete CM resection in all cases. There were no new or worsening neurological deficits or evidence of rebleeding/recurrence noted postoperatively. CONCLUSION: This study establishes the surgical feasibility of a contralateral SCIT approach in resection of symptomatic thalamic CMs It demonstrates the application for this procedure in extending the surgical trajectory superiorly and laterally and maximizing safe resectability of these deep CMs with gravity-assisted brain retraction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)404-411
Number of pages8
JournalOperative Neurosurgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Cavernous malformation
  • Contralateral supracerebellar infratentorial
  • Gravity-assisted retraction
  • Microsurgical resection
  • Supracerebellar infratentorial
  • Thalamic cavernous malformations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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