The Far Lateral Approach to the Craniovertebral Junction: An Update

  • Nabeel S. Alshafai
  • Tomasz Klepinowski
Part of the Acta Neurochirurgica Supplement book series (NEUROCHIRURGICA, volume 125)


Introduction: Since 1972, when Hammon first described the far lateral approach (FLA) for treatment of vertebral artery aneurysms, it has undergone numerous modifications, including drilling of the occipital condyle, removal of the laminas of upper cervical vertebrae and so on. Also, the range of indications has increased exponentially.

Objective: In this paper we discuss state-of-the-art advances in the FLA, such as promising minimally invasive variants where an endoscope is used, and many others.

Methods: We reviewed all articles touching upon the FLA in the modern era (from the year 2000 onward) and selected those that presented a significant contribution to the development of the relevant approach. The database used was PubMed.

Results and Conclusion: We found several new caveats not mentioned in other reviews or book chapters. The FLA is an ever-changing field of battle where the common and ultimate goals are to minimize the risk of injuring the major vessel in the region—the vertebral artery—and to provide such an angle of attack upon the tumours in the anterior and anterolateral foramen magnum that it is feasible to ensure gross total resection. This paper is an update on the knowledge about this approach, which we feel is necessary.


Far lateral approach Foramen magnum Vertebral artery Occipital condyle MIST 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nabeel S. Alshafai
    • 1
  • Tomasz Klepinowski
    • 2
  1. 1.Alshafai Neurosurgical Academy (ANA)TorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of NeurosurgeryCollegium Medicum Jagiellonian University, Alshafai Neurosurgical Academy (ANA)KrakówPoland

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