Sublabial transsphenoidal microsurgical technique to treat congenital transsphenoidal encephalocele: a technical note

Neurosurg Rev. 2019 Jun;42(2):571-575. doi: 10.1007/s10143-018-01075-z. Epub 2019 Jan 4.


Encephalocele is a rare malformation consisting in herniation of cranial contents through a cranial defect. A transsphenoidal location is uncommon, representing 5% of all basal encephaloceles. The surgical treatment of transsphenoidal encephaloceles is challenging. An optimal approach has not yet been determined, and it varies according to the surgical experience. We report the surgical management of a transsphenoidal encephalocele. The encephalocele and the sellar defect were repaired through a sublabial transsphenoidal microsurgical approach (TSM). Preoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans were crucial for surgical planning. The sublabial transsphenoidal microsurgical approach offered a good and complete exposure of both the sac and the bone defect. Therefore, the congenital defect was successfully repaired with complete resolution of the encephalocele without any surgical or medical complications. Postoperative CT scan and MRI showed the restoration of the bone defect and the recovery of a normal anatomy with herniated structures pushed back into the sella. The described sublabial transsphenoidal microsurgical approach represents a minimally invasive, safe, and effective treatment strategy for transsphenoidal encephalocele.

Keywords: Basal meningoencephalocele; Congenital; Microsurgery; Transsphenoidal approach; Transsphenoidal encephalocele.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Encephalocele / congenital*
  • Encephalocele / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Labial Frenum
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Microsurgery / methods*
  • Sphenoid Bone / surgery
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome