Within the realm of neurosurgery, petroclival meningiomas are regarded as probably the most difficult tumour to be treated by microsurgery. This is due to the not infrequently large size of the tumours which, although predominantly located in the posterior fossa, may occupy more than one cranial compartment, with often significant space-occupying effect and brain stem compression. Frequent tight brain stem adherence as well as encasement of the basilar artery, its perforators and cranial nerves adds to the sometimes extreme difficulties of surgical tumour removal. Counselling patients as well as pre- and intraoperative decision making in petroclival meningiomas is even more difficult because upon clinical and radiological tumour detection, despite sometimes surprisingly large tumours, clinical symptoms are often only mild. Summarising the complicated development of petroclival meningioma surgery over the last 60 years, this paper represents the conceptual thinking of the author in regard to the treatment of petroclival meningiomas which has evolved over more than two decades, based on a special interest in these treacherous tumours, and accumulated experiences in the treatment of over 150 patients. Surgical concepts and the operative decision-making process are demonstrated in four illustrative cases.
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