Minim Invasive Neurosurg 2006; 49(3): 168-172
DOI: 10.1055/s-2006-944239
Original Article
© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

The Role of Intraoperative Monitoring of Oculomotor and Trochlear Nuclei -Safe Entry Zone to Tegmental Lesions

H.  Ishihara1 , M.  Bjeljac1 , D.  Straumann2 , Y.  Kaku1 , P.  Roth1 , Y.  Yonekawa1
  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, University Hospital of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2Department of Neurology, University Hospital of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
18 July 2006 (online)


Objective: A safe entry zone to tegmental lesions was identified based on intraoperative electrophysiological findings, the compound muscle action potentials (CMAP) from the extraocular muscles, and anatomic considerations. This entry zone is bordered caudally by the intramesencephalic path of the trochlear, laterally by the spinothalamic tract, and rostrally by the caudal margin of the brachium of the superior colliculus. Methods: Four intrinsic midbrain lesions were operated upon via the safe entry zone using the infratentorial paramedian supracerebellar approach. All lesions involved the tegmentum and included an anaplastic astrocytoma, a metastatic brain tumor, a radiation necrosis, and a cavernous angioma. CMAP were bilaterally monitored from the inferior recti (for oculomotor function) and superior oblique (for trochlear nerve function) muscles. Results: In three of four cases, CMAP related to the oculomotor nerve were obtained upon stimulation at the cavity wall after removal of the tumor. Stimulation at the surface of the quadrigeminal plate, however, did not cause any CMAP response. Using this monitoring as an indicator, the lesions were totally removed. Conclusions: In the surgery of tegmental lesions, CMAP monitoring from extraocular muscles is particularly helpful to prevent damage to crucial neural structures during removal of intrinsic lesions, but less so to select the site of the medullary incision. The approach via the lateral part of the colliculi is considered to be a safe route to approach the tegmental lesions.


Hideyuki Ishihara, , M. D. 

Department of Neurosurgery · Yamaguchi University School of Medicine

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Yamaguchi 755-8505


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