, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 189-194,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 10 May 2007

Pure endoscopic endonasal odontoidectomy: anatomical study


Different disorders may produce irreducible atlanto-axial dislocation with compression of the ventral spinal cord. Among the surgical approaches available for a such condition, the transoral resection of the odontoid process is the most often used. The aim of this anatomical study is to demonstrate the possibility of an anterior cervico-medullary decompression through an endoscopic endonasal approach. Three fresh cadaver heads were used. A modified endonasal endoscopic approach was made in all cases. Endoscopic dissections were performed using a rigid endoscope, 4 mm in diameter, 18 cm in length, with 0 degree lenses. Access to the cranio-vertebral junction was possible using a lower trajectory, when compared to that necessary for the sellar region. The choana is entered and the mucosa of the rhinopharynx is dissected and transposed in the oral cavity in order to expose the cranio-vertebral junction and to obtain a mucosal flap useful for the closure. The anterior arch of the atlas and the odontoid process of C2 are removed, thus exposing the dura mater. The endoscopic endonasal approach could be a valid alternative to the transoral approach for anterior odontoidectomy.