Modified pterional craniotomy without "macCarty keyhole"

Samuel Moscovici, Cezar José Mizrahi, Emil Margolin, Sergey Spektor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Pterional craniotomy is one of the most widely used approaches in neurosurgery. The MacCarty keyhole has remained the preferred means of beginning the craniotomy to achieve a low access point; however, the bone opening may result in a residual defect and an aesthetically unpleasant depression in the periorbital area. We present our modification of the traditional technique. Instead of drilling the keyhole in the frontoperiorbital area, the classical location, we perform a 5 × 15 mm strip craniectomy at the lowest accessible point in the infratemporal fossa, corresponding to the projection of the most lateral point of the sphenoid ridge. The anterior half of this opening exposes the basal frontal dura, while the posterior half brings the temporal dura into view. This modified technique was applied in 48 pterional craniotomies performed for removal of a variety of neoplasms during 2014-2015. There were no approach-related complications. Aesthetic outcomes and patient acceptance have been good; no patient developed skin depression in the periorbital area. In our experience, craniotomy for a pterional approach with the lowest possible access to the frontotemporal skull base may be performed by drilling a narrow oblong opening, without the use of any keyhole or burr hole, to create a smaller skull defect and achieve optimal aesthetic outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-137
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Clinical Neuroscience
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • MacCarty keyhole
  • Pterional craniotomy
  • Surgical technique


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