Endoscopic skull base surgery: a comprehensive comparison with open transcranial approaches

Br J Neurosurg. 2012 Oct;26(5):637-48. doi: 10.3109/02688697.2012.654837. Epub 2012 Feb 10.


Little data exists comparing endoscopic endonasal approaches to pathology of the anterior skull base with more traditional transcranial and transsphenoidal microscopic approaches. In order to more fully characterize the role of endoscopy in the management of pathology of the anterior cranial base, we conducted a systematic review of case series and case reports documenting surgical and clinical outcomes. We found that for craniopharyngiomas, clival chordomas, esthesioneuroblastomas and giant pituitary adenomas, the endonasal endoscopic approach can result in equivalent or higher rates of gross total resection than open approaches. For meningiomas, however, open transcranial approaches are still able to achieve higher rates of total resection. CSF leak rates are higher for patients undergoing endoscopic surgery for meningiomas and craniopharyngiomas, but not for chordomas, esthesioneuroblastomas or giant pituitary adenomas. In certain patients, the endonasal endoscopic approach may be a safe and effective alternative for the treatment of a wide variety of skull base pathology, particularly those with small midline tumours.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Endoscopy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Skull Base / surgery*
  • Skull Base Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult