Published online by Cambridge University Press: 08 March 2006
Difficult cerebellopontine angle (CPA) tumours namely large/giant vestibular schwannomas, vestibular schwannomas with a significant anterior extension and meningiomas of the posterior surface of the petrous bone extending anterior to the internal auditory canal (IAC) have always posed a problem for the otoneurosurgeon. Modifications of the enlarged translabyrinthine approach (ETLA) specifically aimed at dealing with these tumours are not reported. The aim of this paper is to introduce the transapical extension of ETLA which involves increased circumferential drilling around the IAC beyond 270°C. The extension allows enhanced surgical control over the tumour as well as the anterior aspect of the CPA including the prepontine cistern, the Vth and VIth cranial nerves. The extension is further classified into Type I and II depending upon the extent of drilling. Type I extension entails drilling around the IAC for 300–320° and is indicated for large/giant vestibular schwannomas (large vestibular schwannoma extrameatal diameter 3–3.9 cm, giant vestibular schwannoma extrameatal diameter [ges ]4 cm) and vestibular schwannomas with significant anterior extension. Type II extension involves complete drilling around the canal for 360° and is indicated for meningiomas of the posterior surface of the petrous bone extending anterior to the IAC.