We describe a unique method of accessing the ventromedial skull base and lower craniocervical junction. Our method employs a trajectory between that of the more anterior transoral or retropharyngeal approaches and the various posterior or posterolateral skull base approaches. This "extended" lateral approach allows surgeons to resect very large tumors of the skull base through a single incision. The operative field is more extensive than that achieved with other approaches; it extends from the cerebellar hemisphere to the extradural ventral upper cervical spine, and it provides access to tissue outside the spinal canal, such as the ventral strap muscles. We describe our use of this approach during a single-stage resection of a large hemangiopericytoma in a 37-year-old man.
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