Microsurgical anatomy of safe entry zones on the ventrolateral brainstem: a morphometric study

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Kocer I. B. , Demiralin M. O. , Erturk M. , Arslan D., Sengul G.

NEUROSURGICAL REVIEW, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s10143-021-01644-9
  • Title of Journal : NEUROSURGICAL REVIEW
  • Keywords: Anatomical landmarks, Brainstem, Safe entry zone, Neurosurgery, MICROVASCULAR ANATOMY, CLINICAL MANAGEMENT, GLIOMAS


Surgery of the brainstem is challenging due to the complexity of the area with cranial nerve nuclei, reticular formation, and ascending and descending fibers. Safe entry zones are required to reach the intrinsic lesions of the brainstem. The aim of this study was to provide detailed measurements for anatomical landmark zones of the ventrolateral surface of the human brainstem related to previously described safe entry zones. In this study, 53 complete and 34 midsagittal brainstems were measured using a stainless caliper with an accuracy of 0.01 mm. The distance between the pontomesencephalic and bulbopontine sulci was measured as 26.94 mm. Basilar sulcus-lateral side of pons (origin of the fibers of the trigeminal nerve) distance was 17.23 mm, transverse length of the pyramid 5.42 mm, and vertical length of the pyramid 21.36 mm. Lateral mesencephalic sulcus was 12.73 mm, distance of the lateral mesencephalic sulcus to the oculomotor nerve 13.85 mm, and distance of trigeminal nerve to the upper tip of pyramid 17.58 mm. The transverse length for the inferior olive at midpoint and vertical length were measured as 5.21 mm and 14.77 mm, consequently. The thickness of the superior colliculus was 4.36 mm, and the inferior colliculus 5.06 mm; length of the tectum was 14.5 mm and interpeduncular fossa 11.26 mm. Profound anatomical knowledge and careful analysis of preoperative imaging are mandatory before surgery of the brainstem lesions. The results presented in this study will serve neurosurgeons operating in the brainstem region.