Objectives: The traditional approach to sinonasal tumors involving the skull base has been the anterior craniofacial resection. The first report by Ketcham et al (American Journal of Surgery, 1963;106:698-703) documented their experience with 17 anterior craniofacial resections for malignant tumors of the sinonasal tract. Later experience with this technique at several centers has resulted in the publication of many refinements of technique and further reduction in the morbidity and mortality associated with this procedure. In our hands, endoscopic techniques have allowed us to approach the intranasal aspect of skull base lesions without external incisions and yet still achieve an en bloc resection. The type of lesions suitable for this approach and the associated technical issues are discussed in this article.
Methods: Between 1999 and 2004, 18 patients with malignant nasoethmoid tumors underwent endoscopic nasal and anterior craniotomy resections. The average age of the patients 60.2 years, with a male-to-female distribution of 15 to 3. Mean follow-up period was 25.1 months.
Results: Two patients died from postoperative complications, three died from recurrent disease and two from unrelated causes. Eleven patients are free of disease with a mean survival of 19.8 months.
Conclusions: Although we do not consider this approach a replacement for the traditional anterior craniofacial resection, it is an important adjunct in the skull base surgeon's armamentarium.