Retrosigmoid Craniectomy and Suprameatal Drilling-3-Dimensionally Printed Microneurosurgical Simulation: 2-Dimensional Operative Video

Jaime L. Martinez, Aaron Damon, Ricardo A. Domingo, Fidel Valero-Moreno, Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neurosurgical training is being challenged by rigorous work-hour restrictions and the COVID-19 pandemic.1 Now, more than ever, surgical simulation plays a pivotal role in resident education and psychomotor skill development. Three-dimensional (3D) printing technologies enable the construction of inexpensive, patient-specific, anatomically accurate physical models for a more convenient and realistic simulation of complex skull base approaches in a safe environment.2 All stages of the surgical procedure can be simulated, from positioning and exposure to deep microdissection, which has an unparalleled educational value. The complex approach-specific anatomy, narrow working angles, and pathoanatomic relationships can be readily explored from the surgeon's perspective or point of view.2,3 Furthermore, different thermoplastic polymers can be utilized to replicate the visual and tactile feedback of bone (cortical/cancellous), neurological, and vascular tissues.4 Retrosigmoid craniectomies are widely used in neurosurgery with various applications, including microvascular decompressions in patients with trigeminal neuralgia.5-7 Removal of the suprameatal tubercle (SMT) extends the retrosigmoid approach superiorly to the middle fossa and Meckel's cave, and anteriorly to the clivus.8,9 This maneuver may be necessary in patients with prominent SMTs obstructing the view of the trigeminal nerve and in patients with a more anterosuperior neurovascular conflict. This video illustrates a microsurgical training tool for learning and honing the technique of retrosigmoid craniectomy and suprameatal drilling using an affordable (29.00 USD) biomimetic 3D-printed simulator that closely recapitulates not only the anatomy but also the tactile feedback of drilling and manipulating neurological tissues (see Table and Graph 1; minute 07:11) as it happens at the time of surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E355-E356
JournalOperative neurosurgery (Hagerstown, Md.)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 15 2021


  • 3D printing
  • Cerebellopontine angle
  • Meckel's cave
  • Skull base
  • Suprameatal tubercle
  • Surgical simulation
  • Trigeminal neuralgia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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