Improving the endoscopic endonasal transclival approach: the importance of a precise layer by layer reconstruction

Br J Neurosurg. 2014 Apr;28(2):241-6. doi: 10.3109/02688697.2013.835375. Epub 2013 Sep 6.


BACKGROUND. The endoscopic endonasal transclival approach (EETCA) is a minimally-invasive technique allowing a direct route to the base of implant of clival lesions with reduced brain and neurovascular manipulation. On the other hand, it is associated with potentially severe complications related to the difficulties in reconstructing large skull base defects with a high risk of postoperative cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leakage. The aim of this paper is to describe a precise layer by layer reconstruction in the EETCA including the suture of the mucosa as an additional reinforcing layer between cranial and nasal cavity in order to speed up the healing process and reduce the incidence of CSF leak. METHODS. This closure technique was applied to the last six cases of EETCA used for clival meningiomas (2), clival chordomas (2), clival metastasis (1), and craniopharyngioma with clival extension (1). RESULTS. After a mean follow-up of 6 months we had no one case of postoperative CSF leakage or infections. Seriated outpatient endoscopic endonasal controls showed a fast healing process of nasopharyngeal mucosa with less patient discomfort. CONCLUSIONS. Our preliminary experience confirms the importance of a precise reconstruction of all anatomical layers violated during the surgical approach, including the nasopharygeal mucosa.

MeSH terms

  • Atlanto-Axial Joint
  • Atlanto-Occipital Joint
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Rhinorrhea / epidemiology
  • Chordoma / surgery
  • Cranial Fossa, Posterior / surgery
  • Craniopharyngioma / surgery
  • Endoscopy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Meningioma / surgery
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Mucous Membrane / physiology
  • Nasal Cavity / surgery*
  • Nasopharynx / physiology
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures / methods
  • Skull Base Neoplasms / surgery
  • Surgical Wound Infection / epidemiology
  • Sutures