Endoscopic endonasal repair of anterior skull base non-traumatic cerebrospinal fluid leaks, meningoceles, and encephaloceles

J Neurosurg. 2010 Nov;113(5):961-6. doi: 10.3171/2009.10.JNS08986. Epub 2009 Nov 20.


Object: The endoscopic endonasal approach has become the preferred technique for CSF leak and encephalocele repair of the anterior skull base. The purpose of this study is to identify patient characteristics; review adjunctive perioperative treatments, reconstruction techniques, and outcomes; and identify risk factors for failure in patients undergoing endoscopic endonasal repair of anterior skull base CSF leaks and encephaloceles.

Methods: This is a prospective observational study of patients undergoing endoscopic endonasal repair of a CSF leak between October 2004 and May 2009. Twenty-eight consecutive patients underwent 32 procedures. Twenty-two of the patients were women, which represents a statistically significant trend toward the female sex (p < 0.05). The average body mass index (33.9) was significant for obesity. The origin of the skull base defect included the cribriform plate (in 9 cases), fovea ethmoidalis (in 7), combined fovea ethmoidalis/cribriform plate (in 2), lateral sphenoid sinus (in 6), sella (in 4), clivus (in 3), and frontal sinus (in 1).

Results: The overall endonasal closure rate was 93.8% (30 of 32 procedures). One failure occurred due to overaggressive postoperative debridement, while the other recurred along the posterior wall of the frontal sinus, and endoscopic repair would have occluded the recess.

Conclusions: The endoscopic endonasal approach for the treatment of CSF leaks and encephaloceles of the anterior skull base is the preferred method of repair in the vast majority of cases. The authors' 93.8% closure rate in a variety of anatomical locations compares favorably with the transcranial approach and echoes the results of other endoscopic series.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Rhinorrhea / surgery*
  • Encephalocele / surgery*
  • Endoscopy / methods*
  • Female
  • Frontal Sinus / surgery
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meningocele / surgery*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Skull Base / surgery*
  • Sphenoid Sinus / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome