Efficacy of the pedicled nasoseptal flap without cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) diversion for repair of skull base defects: incidence of postoperative CSF leaks
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Published:25th Mar 2020
Background: The advances in endoscopic skull base surgery have led to the resection of increasingly larger cranial base lesions and the creation of larger skull base defects with the potential for increased postoperative high-flow cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks. These concerns led to the development of the vascularized pedicled nasoseptal flap (PNSF), which is now used as the mainstay for repair of large skull base defects in many academic centers. In this report, we review the incidence of postoperative CSF leaks in our institution in patients undergoing endoscopic skull base repair of high-flow CSF leaks with a vascularized PNSF without concurrent CSF diversion. Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis at our tertiary care medical center on patients who underwent endoscopic repair of high-flow CSF leaks using a PNSF without CSF diversion between July 2008 and August 2011. Repair materials, incidence of postoperative CSF leaks, and demographic data were collected. Results: Fifty-nine high-flow CSF leaks were repaired with a PNSF and other repair materials, without the use of lumbar catheter drainage. No postoperative CSF leak occurred in this cohort of patients. The overall postoperative CSF leak rate was 0%. Conclusion: Meticulous multilayer-closure of skull base defects is critical to prevent postoperative CSF leaks. Although lumbar drainage may be useful in select scenarios, it carries inherent risks of intracranial hypotension and pneumocephalus, and may not be necessary for routine management of high-flow CSF leaks in conjunction with a robust PNSF. Further prospective randomized controlled studies may be warranted to evaluate the efficacy of postoperative lumbar drainage.