Endoscopic techniques are now an accepted part of the surgical armamentarium and are used routinely in a number of aesthetic and reconstructive procedures. Endoscopic techniques are now being used commonly by plastic surgeons in forehead and face lifts. In both craniofacial surgery and in neurosurgery, the application of endoscopy potentially allows the surgical team to perform wide dissection of the dura mater in a minimally invasive fashion, thereby potentially reducing the risk of dural and brain injury. Also reduced by this surgical approach is potential injury to the major venous structures, such as the sagittal sinus, along with overall reduced bleeding. After an extensive laboratory study of 10 cadaveric dissections, the authors have refined a new endoscopic technique for completing an endoscopic intracranial craniofacial osteotomy. This study was conducted in the Department of Pathology at the University of Brno (Czech Republic), and was performed as a cooperative multicenter project between the University of Palermo, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center, the Hospital Infantil de Mexico, 'Federico Gomez,' and the Medtronic Midas Rex Institute, (Fort Worth, TX). During this cadaveric anatomic study and using small trephinations and skin incisions the authors were able to develop several different craniofacial and endoscopic monobloc procedures. To accomplish intracranial and facial osteotomies, a new malleable high-speed drill was designed for use in the endoscopic craniofacial approach. Using these newly developed cadaveric techniques and instrumentation, the authors performed two intracranial craniofacial procedures on children with congenital craniofacial anomalies. There would appear to be several significant advantages for the craniofacial patient as result of these new techniques: reduced surgical trauma, operative bleeding, surgical time, and hospitalization, along with a reduced risk of infection. It became quickly apparent, as a result of these cadaveric studies, that the learning curve for this endoscopic procedure is quite steep.
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