Endoscopic management of lateral sphenoid cerebrospinal fluid leaks: Identifying a radiographic parameter for surgical planning

Laryngoscope Investig Otolaryngol. 2020 Jun 8;5(3):375-380. doi: 10.1002/lio2.412. eCollection 2020 Jun.


Objective: Repair of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks of the lateral recess of the sphenoid (LRS) sinus can be challenging to accomplish via an endoscopic transphenoidal approach. The endoscopic transpterygoid approach can improve surgical access to the lateral recess but requires more extensive surgical dissection. We review our experience with LRS CSF leak repair via both techniques to determine whether preoperative radiologic data can help predict the most appropriate surgical approach.

Methods: Electronic medical records of patients with LRS CSF leaks were retrospectively reviewed at a single tertiary referral center. Radiographic measurements from preoperative computed tomography images were reviewed.

Results: Twenty-two LRS CSF leaks were identified. The transphenoidal and transpterygoid approach were used in 6 (27.3%) and 16 (72.7%) cases, respectively.The mean vidian canal to foramen rotundum angle of the repairs accessed transphenoidally as compared to the transptyergoid approach were not significantly different (41.93° ±10.91, 40.72° ±19.49, respectively; P = .63). However, the mean volume of the LRS accessed by the transpterygoid approach was significantly greater compared to those accessed through the transphenoidal approach (0.97 cm3 ± 0.48, 0.39 cm3 ± 0.40, respectively; P = .04). A LRS volume of 0.400 cm3 or greater predicted the use of the transpterygoid approach with 93.3% sensitivity and 60.0% specificity.

Conclusion: This study demonstrated that LRS CSF leaks that necessitated repair by the transpterygoid approach, rather than transphenoidal approach, were in the context of significantly larger lateral recess. Assessment of the LRS volume is a quantifiable parameter to aid in preoperative surgical planning.

Level of evidence: Level 4.

Keywords: cerebrospinal fluid leak; lateral recess of sphenoid; sphenoid cerebrospinal fluid leak; transpterygoid approach.