Minimally invasive endoscopic repair of refractory lateral skull base cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea: Case report and review of the literature

Brandon Lucke-Wold, Erik C. Brown, Justin S. Cetas, Aclan Dogan, Sachin Gupta, Timothy E. Hullar, Timothy L. Smith, Jeremy N. Ciporen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks occur in approximately 10% of patients undergoing a translabyrinthine, retrosigmoid, or middle fossa approach for vestibular schwannoma resection. Cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea also results from trauma, neoplasms, and congenital defects. A high degree of difficulty in repair sometimes requires repetitive microsurgical revisions-a rate of 10% of cases is often cited. This can not only lead to morbidity but is also costly and burdensome to the health care system. In this case-based theoretical analysis, the authors summarize the literature regarding endoscopic endonasal techniques to obliterate the eustachian tube (ET) as well as compare endoscopic endonasal versus open approaches for repair. Given the results of their analysis, they recommend endoscopic endonasal ET obliteration (EEETO) as a first-or second-line technique for the repair of CSF rhinorrhea from a lateral skull base source refractory to spontaneous healing and CSF diversion. They present a case in which EEETO resolved refractory CSF rhinorrhea over a 10-month follow-up after CSF diversions, wound reexploration, revised packing of the ET via a lateral microscopic translabyrinthine approach, and the use of a vascularized flap had failed. They further summarize the literature regarding studies that describe various iterations of EEETO. By its minimally invasive nature, EEETO imposes less morbidity as well as less risk to the patient. It can be readily implemented into algorithms once CSF diversion (for example, lumbar drain) has failed, prior to considering open surgery for repair. Additional studies are warranted to further demonstrate the outcome and cost-saving benefits of EEETO as the data until now have been largely empirical yet very hopeful. The summaries and technical notes described in this paper may serve as a resource for those skull base teams faced with similar challenging and otherwise refractory CSF leaks from a lateral skull base source.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberE8
JournalNeurosurgical focus
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018


  • CSF leak repair
  • Endoscopic
  • Eustachian tube
  • Skull base
  • Transnasal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Minimally invasive endoscopic repair of refractory lateral skull base cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea: Case report and review of the literature'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this