Rhabdomyosarcoma of pterygoid fossa resection for cure utilizing an innervated facial flap and craniofacial reconstruction

Academic Article


  • Tumors of the pterygoid fossa are often regarded as unresectable because of their anatomic inaccessibility. The rapidly developing techniques of craniofacial surgery have advanced sufficiently to now allow safe ablative surgery in this area and yet preserve the functional status and cosmetic appearance of the patient. A technique utilizing a bicoronal incision that is extended to the angle of the mandible on the involved side is described. This allows wide exposure of the bony structures at the lateral base of the skull while maintaining the integrity of the facial nerve within the cutaneous flap. Temporary removal of the zygomatic arch achieves direct access to and visualization of the contents of the temporal and pterygoid fossae. Skull, mandibular, and maxillary bone adjacent to tumor can easily and safely be resected to obtain complete tumor‐free margins. Craniectomy bone is harvested and split into inner and outer tables to reconstruct the bony defects. This approach was successfully utilized in a 5‐year‐old boy with a Group III rhabdomyosarcoma with residual tumor following combined chemo‐and radiotherapy. He remains tumor‐free at 15 months, postoperation. The technique can be adapted for a variety of mass lesions located at the anterior base of the skull, both intra‐and extracranially. Morbidity and mortality should be minimal with an experienced craniofacial team. Cancer 58:163–168, 1986. Copyright © 1986 American Cancer Society
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Cancer  Journal
  • Author List

  • Albin RE; O'Donnell RS; Hendee RW; Heideman R; Bailey WC; Majure JA
  • Start Page

  • 163
  • End Page

  • 168
  • Volume

  • 58
  • Issue

  • 1