History of endoscopic skull base surgery: its evolution and current reality

J Neurosurg. 2007 Jul;107(1):206-13. doi: 10.3171/JNS-07/07/0206.


The history of the endoscope exemplifies the manner in which technological advances influence medicine and surgery. Endoscopic systems have evolved and improved, and they currently provide detailed visualization of a variety of deep organ structures. Otorhinolaryngological surgeons have used the endoscope for more than 30 years. In the 1990s, a number of influential neurosurgeons and otorhinolaryngological surgeons began performing purely endoscopic pituitary surgery. Endoscopic transsphenoidal operations are now extending beyond the sella. The collaboration between otorhinolaryngologists and neurosurgeons has produced a new subspecialty of "endoscopic skull base surgery." There is a great deal of progress still to be made in developing skills, instruments, and improving skull base repair. The extended skull base approaches allow surgical exposures from the olfactory groove to C-2 and to the infratemporal region and jugular fossa laterally. This article discusses the history of the endoscope, the pivotal technological advances, and the key figures in the burgeoning field of endoneurosurgery.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Endoscopy / history*
  • Endoscopy / trends*
  • Equipment Design
  • History, 18th Century
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Medicine
  • Neurology / history*
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / history*
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / instrumentation
  • Otolaryngology / instrumentation
  • Skull Base / surgery*
  • Specialization