Sphenoorbital meningiomas: Surgical limitations and lessons learned in their long-term management

Raj K. Shrivastava, Chandranath Sen, Peter D. Costantino, Robert Della Rocca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

146 Scopus citations


Object. Sphenoorbital meningiomas (SOMs) are complex tumors involving the sphenoid wing, orbit, and cavernous sinus, which makes their complete resection difficult or impossible. Sphenoidal hyperostosis that results in incomplete resection makes these tumors prone to high rates of recurrence with postoperative morbidity resulting in a nonfunctional globe. High-dose radiation therapy has often been described as the only treatment capable of achieving tumor control, although often at the expense of the patient's progressive visual deterioration. Methods. This series consisted of 25 patients who were retrospectively analyzed over a 12-year period. Visual function was evaluated pre- and postoperatively in all patients. A standardized surgical approach to a frontotemporal craniotomy and orbitozygomatic osteotomy with intra- and extradural drilling of the optic canal and all the hyperostotic bone was performed. Orbital and cranial reconstruction was performed in all patients. The follow-up period was 6 months to 12 years (average 5 years). The patients presented with the classic triad of SOM: proptosis (86%), visual impairment (78%), and ocular paresis (20%). A gross-total resection was achieved in 70% of patients with surgery limited by the superior orbital fissure and the cavernous sinus. Proptosis improved in 96% of patients with 87% improvement in visual function. Ocular paresis improved in 68%, although 20% of patients experienced a temporary ocular paresis postoperatively. There were no perioperative deaths or morbidity related to the surgical approach or reconstruction. Ninety-five percent of patients reported an improved functional orbit. There was tumor recurrence in 8% of patients; in one case recurrence was delayed for longer than 11 years. Conclusions. Sphenoorbital meningiomas are a distinct category of tumors complicated by potentially extensive hyperostosis of the skull base. Successful resection requires extensive intra- and extradural surgery, necessitating drilling of the optic canal and an orbital osteotomy within anatomical limitations. The bone resection requires reconstruction with autograft, allografts, or alloplast for improved orbital function. All aspects of the clinical triad improved. A radical resection can be achieved with low morbidity, providing a significantly improved clinical outcome in the long-term period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-497
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Meningioma
  • Orbital reconstruction
  • Orbital tumor
  • Sphenoid


Dive into the research topics of 'Sphenoorbital meningiomas: Surgical limitations and lessons learned in their long-term management'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this