Anatomy of the transarcuate approach to the petrous apex

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

Determine the dimensions of the approach to the petrous apex through the crura of the superior semicircular canal (SSC).

STUDY DESIGN

Measurements obtained from high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) images.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS

One hundred ninety-two HRCTs were screened and 58 temporal bones with pneumatized posterior petrous apex cell tracts in 39 patients were identified and reviewed. Measurements were obtained with the assistance of the standard PACS (picture archiving and communication system) software.

RESULTS

The mean anterior-posterior (AP) dimension of the intercrural space of the SSC was 4.88 ± 0.49 mm. The mean superior-inferior (SI) dimension of this space was 4.90 ± 0.62 mm. When air cells were present in the intercrural space, the dimensions of the approach increased to 5.27 ± 0.50 mm for the AP dimension (P = 0.014) and 5.27 ± 0.70 mm for the SI dimension (P = 0.056).

CONCLUSION

The subarcuate approach is a potential route for the drainage of petrous apex cholesterol granulomas with minimal risk to the SSC, as demonstrated on HRCT measurements.

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