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Brazilian Journal of Otorhinolaryngology

Print version ISSN 1808-8694On-line version ISSN 1808-8686


DOLCI, Ricardo Landini Lutaif et al. Postoperative otorhinolaryngologic complications in transnasal endoscopic surgery to access the skull base. Braz. j. otorhinolaryngol. [online]. 2017, vol.83, n.3, pp.349-355. ISSN 1808-8686.


The large increase in the number of transnasal endoscopic skull base surgeries is a consequence of greater knowledge of the anatomic region, the development of specific materials and instruments, and especially the use of the nasoseptal flap as a barrier between the sinus tract (contaminated cavity) and the subarachnoid space (sterile area), reducing the high risk of contamination.


To assess the otorhinolaryngologic complications in patients undergoing endoscopic surgery of the skull base, in which a nasoseptal flap was used.


This was a retrospective study that included patients who underwent endoscopic skull base surgery with creation of a nasoseptal flap, assessing for the presence of the following post-surgical complications: cerebrospinal fluid leak, meningitis, mucocele formation, nasal synechia, septal perforation (prior to posterior septectomy), internal nasal valve failure, epistaxis, and olfactory alterations.


The study assessed 41 patients undergoing surgery. Of these, 35 had pituitary adenomas (macro- or micro-adenomas; sellar and suprasellar extension), three had meningiomas (two tuberculum sellae and one olfactory groove), two had craniopharyngiomas, and one had an intracranial abscess. The complications were cerebrospinal fluid leak (three patients; 7.3%), meningitis (three patients; 7.3%), nasal fossa synechia (eight patients; 19.5%), internal nasal valve failure (six patients; 14.6%), and complaints of worsening of the sense of smell (16 patients; 39%). The olfactory test showed anosmia or hyposmia in ten patients (24.3%). No patient had mucocele, epistaxis, or septal perforation.


The use of the nasoseptal flap has revolutionized endoscopic skull base surgery, making the procedures more effective and with lower morbidity compared to the traditional route. However, although mainly transient nasal morbidities were observed, in some cases, permanent hyposmia and anosmia resulted. An improvement in this technique is therefore necessary to provide a better quality of life for the patient, reducing potential complications.

Keywords : Nasoseptal flap; Endonasal; Endoscopic; Skull base; Complications; Otorhinolaryngologic.

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