J Neurol Surg B Skull Base. 2022 Oct 10;84(5):423-432. doi: 10.1055/a-1886-5500. eCollection 2023 Oct.
Objective An operative workflow systematically compartmentalizes operations into hierarchal components of phases, steps, instrument, technique errors, and event errors. Operative workflow provides a foundation for education, training, and understanding of surgical variation. In this Part 1, we present a codified operative workflow for the retrosigmoid approach to vestibular schwannoma resection. Methods A mixed-method consensus process of literature review, small-group Delphi’s consensus, followed by a national Delphi’s consensus, was performed in collaboration with British Skull Base Society (BSBS). Each Delphi’s round was repeated until data saturation and over 90% consensus was reached. Results Eighteen consultant skull base surgeons (10 neurosurgeons and 8 ENT [ear, nose, and throat]) with median 17.9 years of experience (interquartile range: 17.5 years) of independent practice participated. There was a 100% response rate across both Delphi’s rounds. The operative workflow for the retrosigmoid approach contained three phases and 40 unique steps as follows: phase 1, approach and exposure; phase 2, tumor debulking and excision; phase 3, closure. For the retrosigmoid approach, technique, and event error for each operative step was also described. Conclusion We present Part 1 of a national, multicenter, consensus-derived, codified operative workflow for the retrosigmoid approach to vestibular schwannomas that encompasses phases, steps, instruments, technique errors, and event errors. The codified retrosigmoid approach presented in this manuscript can serve as foundational research for future work, such as operative workflow analysis or neurosurgical simulation and education.