Intrasphenoidal encephalocele and spontaneous CSF rhinorrhoea

Rhinology. 1999 Dec;37(4):186-9.


Intrasphenoidal encephalocele is a rare clinical entity. In the international literature only 16 cases have been reported up today, with female predominance. Clinically they manifest at middle and advanced ages (40-67 years), when spontaneous CSF rhinorrhoea or recurrent meningitis occurs. We present our case, a 46 years old female, who had CSF rhinorrhoea from the right vestibule for 10 months. The diagnosis was based on the history and the high-resolution brain and skull base CT-scanning in conjunction with opaque fluid injection in the subarachnoidal space through a lumbar puncture. She was successfully treated with an operation, through an endonasal trans-ethmoid microendoscopic approach, using the Draf and Stammberger technique. We discuss the pathogenesis of the intrasphenoidal encephalocele, the existence of small occult defects in the skull base, which cause, at the middle and advanced ages, CSF fistula with spontaneous CSF rhinorrhoea and/or recurrent meningitis. Finally we emphasize the advantages of the endonasal surgical approach for the treatment of this condition.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Rhinorrhea / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Rhinorrhea / etiology*
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Rhinorrhea / surgery
  • Encephalocele / complications*
  • Encephalocele / diagnostic imaging
  • Encephalocele / pathology
  • Encephalocele / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed