Pseudomeningoceles of the sphenoid sinus masquerading as sinus pathology

Laryngoscope. 2011 Dec;121(12):2507-13. doi: 10.1002/lary.21876. Epub 2011 Nov 2.

Abstract

Objectives/hypothesis: To describe the clinical presentation, pathophysiology, and treatment of spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks of the sphenoid bone, with an emphasis on a previously undescribed form in this location, in which CSF is trapped under the mucosa of the sinonasal cavity or in the soft tissue of the skull base.

Study design: Case series and literature review.

Methods: Analysis of cases through medical records and literature review.

Results: Four examples of unusual spontaneous CSF leaks of the skull base are presented. In each case, a CSF collection was contained behind the sinonasal mucosa of the sphenoid sinus, resembling a nasal polyp or mucocele on exam or imaging. In one case, the fluid collection was also associated with significant bone resorption and extravasation into the soft tissue of the infratemporal fossa. In each case, small defects of the ventral skull base (sphenoid bone) were the source of the CSF leaks. Successful treatment was achieved after transnasal endoscopic repair of the skull base defects using a combination of free abdominal fat grafts, free fascial grafts, and pedicled nasoseptal flaps. Postoperatively, a ventriculoperitoneal shunt was placed if the intracranial pressure was elevated.

Conclusions: Spontaneous CSF leaks arising in the sphenoid sinus may not always present with overt CSF rhinorrhea but with a submucosal fluid collection (pseudomeningocele) that may mimic a mucocele or nasal polyp. These bona fide pseudomeningoceles of the skull base may be associated with elevated intracranial pressure and can be managed using endoscopic endonasal surgery.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Rhinorrhea / diagnosis*
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Rhinorrhea / surgery
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Endoscopy / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Meningocele / diagnosis*
  • Meningocele / surgery
  • Middle Aged
  • Paranasal Sinus Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Paranasal Sinus Diseases / surgery
  • Postoperative Care / methods
  • Preoperative Care / methods
  • Risk Assessment
  • Skull Base / surgery
  • Sphenoid Sinus / pathology
  • Sphenoid Sinus / surgery*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods
  • Treatment Outcome