OBJECTIVE: The endonasal route may be feasible for the resection of anterior cranial base tumors that abut the paranasal sinuses. There are several case reports and mixed case series discussing this approach. Other than pituitary adenomas, there is a lack of literature describing the outcomes of endonasal approaches for single-tumor types such as meningiomas.
METHODS: In this study, we describe our current endoscopic endonasal technique and demonstrate the feasibility of using it to access anterior cranial base meningiomas from the back wall of the frontal sinus to the sella and laterally to the region of the midorbit. After this discussion, which includes key technical considerations and nuances, we address safety and efficacy by reporting the outcomes of our early experience with endoscopic endonasal resection of 35 anterior cranial base meningiomas.
RESULTS: A total of 35 patients underwent endoscopic endonasal resection of anterior cranial base meningiomas from October 2002 to October 2005. Degree of resection by tumor location was as follows: 10 of the 12 (83%) patients with olfactory groove meningiomas planned for complete resection underwent gross total (seven of 12) or near-total (>95%) (three of 12) resection (67% of all 15 olfactory tumors); 12 of 13 patients (92%) with tuberculum meningiomas underwent gross (11 of 13) or near (>95%) (one of 13) total resection; five patients diagnosed with petroclival meningiomas had successful resection of the parasellar portion of their tumors with relief of visual symptoms (no patients underwent complete resection of their tumors via the endoscopic, endonasal approach); two giant petroclival meningiomas were debulked with 63 and 89% resection, respectively.
All patients experienced resolution or improvement of visual symptoms. No patient experienced permanent worsening of vision after surgery. Only one (3%) patient without preoperative endocrine dysfunction experienced a new, permanent pituitary deficit, diabetes insipidus. One (3%) patient experienced a new neurological deficit after experiencing a hemorrhage 3 weeks after surgery. The postoperative cerebrospinal fluid leak rate was 40% (14 of 35) and varied by tumor location. All leaks were resolved without craniotomy. There were no cases of bacterial meningitis. One patient developed a superinfection of a sterile granuloma from a sinusitis 2 years after surgery. There were two cases of deep venous thrombosis and one pulmonary embolus. There were no operative or perioperative deaths.
CONCLUSION: Cranial base meningiomas can be successfully managed via a purely endoscopic endonasal approach with acceptable morbidity and mortality rates. The extent of resection is guided by patient factors and symptoms, not by approach. This series had a high cerebrospinal fluid leak rate. With the evolution of new reconstruction techniques, these rates have been substantially reduced.