Systematic review of anterior congenital cephaloceles: open vs endoscopic repair

Int Forum Allergy Rhinol. 2020 Dec;10(12):1334-1336. doi: 10.1002/alr.22701. Epub 2020 Sep 27.


Background: Anterior cephaloceles are rare congenital malformations that have historically been corrected via open approaches. Although the advent of endoscopic endonasal surgery has provided a minimally invasive and theoretically less morbid approach to the anterior skull base, whether endoscopic approaches provide superior treatment outcomes to open techniques has yet to be elucidated. The objective of this study was to systematically review the available literature regarding presentation and outcomes of open vs endoscopic repair of congenital anterior cephaloceles.

Methods: A systematic review of the PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, and Cochrane databases was performed on January 15, 2020, to identify studies from the past 50 years reporting cases of congenital anterior cephaloceles. Data on gender, age at operation, imaging modality, cephalocele location, operative approach, and intra- and postoperative complications were collected.

Results: Nonduplicated data (153 articles) consisted of 781 patients with congenital anterior encephaloceles. Surgical outcomes were reported in 349 patients (222 open approaches, 127 endoscopic approaches), with an average age of 4.6 years. There was a 1.3:1 male-to-female ratio. Clinical presentation included nasal obstruction (n = 154), hypertelorism (n = 106), and cleft lip/palate (n = 100). Defects were classified as sincipital (n = 479) or basal (n = 257), with 45 patients broadly classified as anterior. The number of complications experienced per operation was 0.13 for endoscopic and 0.44 for open approaches (p < 0.0001). Mortality was significantly lower for the endoscopic group compared with patients treated with open surgery (0.008 vs 0.05, p < 0.05).

Conclusion: Endoscopic repair of congenital anterior cephaloceles resulted in decreased postoperative complications and mortality compared with open approaches. ©2020 ARSAAOA, LLC.

Keywords: anterior skull base; endoscopic sinus surgery; pediatric rhinology; skull base.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Cleft Lip*
  • Cleft Palate*
  • Encephalocele / epidemiology
  • Encephalocele / surgery
  • Endoscopy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Skull Base