Transnasal endoscopic management of anterior cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak: experience from a large case series


Department of Neurosciences, Otorhinolaryngology Unit, University of Padua, Via Giustiniani 2, 35128 Padua, Italy


ENT & Audiology Department, Ferrara University Hospital, Via A. Moro 8, 44100 Cona, Italy


Academic Neurosurgery, Department of Neurosciences, University of Padua, via Giustiniani, 5, 35128 Padua, Italy

B-ENT 2017; 13: 15-21
Read: 776 Downloads: 715 Published: 01 February 2020

Transnasal endoscopic management of anterior cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak: experience from a large case series. Objectives. Anterior cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak is a consequence described after head trauma, skull base surgery or inflammatory diseases, but may also occur spontaneously. Prompt recognition and management is crucial in order to avoid complications and to achieve successful surgical repair. The purpose of this study is to present the clinical features of a large group of patients with anterior CSF leak and the results of their surgical management.

Methodology. The study approach was a retrospective review of 110 consecutive patients treated by the same surgeon for CSF leak of the anterior skull base via a transnasal endoscopic approach between 2003 and 2013. Patients with anterior skull base surgery due to cancer or pituitary adenoma were excluded from this study. The diagnostic workup included nasal endoscopy, beta2-transferrin and β-trace protein assay in the rhinoliquorrhoea and radiological imaging. The intrathecal fluorescein test was performed in selected cases. The surgical techniques used to repair dural defects were primarily middle turbinate placement and fascia lata grafting.

Results. Primary endoscopic repair of the CSF fistula was successful in 106/110 (96.4%) patients. Four patients (3.6%) required a revision procedure due to early failure of the repair. After a minimum follow-up of 24 months, no recurrent CSF leaks were observed in the study group. None of the patients developed meningitis as a surgical complication.

Conclusions. The endoscopic transnasal approach is a reliable technique for treating CSF leaks. The intrathecal fluorescein test is safe and helpful in locating the defect. The fascia lata proved the best graft available in our experience.

EISSN 2684-4907