Multidisciplinary approach to the craniovertebral junction. Historical insights, current and future perspectives in the neurosurgical and otorhinolaryngological alliance
Historically considered as a nobody’s land, craniovertebral junction (CVJ) surgery or specialty recently gained high consideration as symbol of challenging surgery as well as selective top level qualifying surgery. The alliance between Neurosurgeons and Otorhinolaringologists has become stronger in the time. CVJ has unique anatomical bone and neurovascular structures architecture. It not only separates from the subaxial cervical spine but it also provides a special cranial flexion, extension, and axial rotation pattern. Stability is provided by a complex combination of osseous and ligamentous supports which allows a large degree of motion. The perfect knowledge of CVJ anatomy and physiology allow to better understand surgical procedures of the occiput, atlas and axis and the specific diseases that affect the region. Although many years passed since the beginning of this pioneering surgery, managing lesions situated in the anterior aspect of the CVJ still remains a challenging neurosurgical problem. Many studies are available in the literature so far aiming to examine the microsurgical anatomy of both the anterior and posterior extradural and intradural aspects of the CVJ as well as the differences in all the possible surgical exposures obtained by 360° approach philosophy. Herein we provide a short but quite complete at glance tour across the personal experience and publications and the more recent literature available in order to highlight where this alliance between Neurosurgeon and Otorhinolaringologist is mandatory, strongly advisable or unnecessary.