The sphenopetroclival region is the border zone between the middle fossa and posterior cranial fossa. Several authors have studied the microsurgical anatomy of this region and have furnished sometimes contradictory descriptions of this area, which still represents a great challenge for the neurosurgeon.
As it can be understood from this picture, aiming to reach the sphenopetroclival junction and ventrolateral aspect of the brainstem will require an anterolateral approach in order to avoid as much as possible the cerebellar and temporal lobe retraction.
On the basis of previous anatomical data reported in the literature, Iaconetta et al. undertook a new microanatomical analysis of the sphenopetroclival region and report their findings.
Twenty human cadaveric heads were used to reproduce, in the laboratory, different skull base approaches to expose the petroclival area. Measurements were taken in 40 specimens. From this study has emerged the finding that the sphenopetroclival area is a venous space, which the authors have named the “sphenopetroclival venous gulf” (SPCVG) 1).