The techniques of skull base surgery attempt to maximize the exposure of a cranial base lesion while using the least amount of brain retraction. Cranial base surgery is not a 'new' area of neurosurgical or otolaryngologic interest, but instead represents a resurgence of efforts to treat difficult lesions involving the cranial base. This resurgence of interest and effort is a product of recent advances in microanatomical knowledge of the cranial base, advances in microsurgical technique, improved neurophysiologic monitoring, and improved collaborative relationships between neurosurgery, otolaryngology and plastic surgery. Furthermore, improved neuroanesthetic techniques allow the surgeon to proceed with surgery without undue concern about time, and improved neuroimaging techniques provide the surgeon with detailed knowledge of the three dimensional characteristics of the tumor and surrounding structures . This review will focus on the surgical management of cranial base tumors primarily affecting the pediatric population. Little has been written on the techniques of skull base surgery as they apply to the pediatric population, since cranially-based tumors are a relatively rare occurrence in this patient population. In most instances, however, many of the 'standard' skull base approaches can be applied to the pediatric patient with few modifications, and in our experience, the pediatric patients have tolerated these approaches as well as their adult counterparts.
- skull base surgery