Thirty-six cases of petroclival meningiomas with clearly defined anatomical features were selected to analyze the site of tumor attachment and the displacement of the trigeminal nerve. The tumors were classified into four categories according to the origin and extension of the tumor: clival origin medial to the trigeminal nerve (upper clivus type), clival origin with dumbbell extension to the cavernous sinus (cavernous sinus type), tentorial origin over the trigeminal nerve (tentorium type), and petrous apex origin lateral to the trigeminal nerve (petrous apex type). Patients with tumors in each category had characteristic neurological symptoms. Patients with the upper clivus type had oculomotor nerve paresis as a single symptom, if suprasellar tumor extension was present. Patients with the cavernous sinus type commonly presented with abducens nerve paresis caused by epidural tumor invasion around Dorello's canal. Dumbbell tumor extension along the venous drainage of the cavernous sinus was a significant problem for surgical removal in this type. Half of the patients with the tentorium type had a characteristic symptom of trigeminal neuralgia caused by retrograde tumor invasion into Meckel's cave from its orifice, but the cavernous sinus was not involved. The main complaint of patients with the petrous apex type was hearing disturbance, but no epidural or parasellar extension was present. Clinical symptoms and magnetic resonance imaging provide important information about the origin and extension patterns of these tumors, especially the presence or absence of tumor extension into the cavernous sinus. Abducens nerve paresis or trigeminal neuralgia suggests tumor invasion into the cavernous sinus or Meckel's cave, respectively.
ASJC Scopus subject areas