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Proposal of Standardization of Closure Techniques After Endoscopic Pituitary and Skull Base Surgery Based on Postoperative Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak Risk Classification

Ruggeri, Andrea G., MD*; Cappelletti, Martina, MD*; Giovannetti, Filippo, MD; Priore, Paolo, MD; Pichierri, Angelo, MD; Delfini, Roberto, MD*

doi: 10.1097/SCS.0000000000005540
Original Article: PDF Only

Postoperative cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak still represents the main limitation of endonasal endoscopic surgery. The aim of the study is to classify the risk of postoperative leak and to propose a decision-making protocol to be applied in the preoperative phase based on radiological data and on intraoperative findings to obtain the best closure.

One hundred fifty-two patients were treated in our institution; these patients were divided into 2 groups because from January 2013 the closure technique was standardized adopting a preoperative decision-making protocol. The Postoperative CSF leak Risk Classification (PCRC) was estimated taking into account the size of the lesion, the extent of the osteodural defect, and the presence of intraoperative CSF leak (iCSF-L). The closure techniques were classified into 3 types according to PCRC estimation (A, B, and C).

The incidence of the use of a nasoseptal flap is significantly increased in the second group 80.3% versus 19.8% of the first group and the difference was statistically significant P < 0.0001. The incidence of postoperative CSF leak (pCSF-L) in the first group was 9.3%. The incidence of postoperative pCSF-L in the second group was 1.5%. An analysis of the pCSF-L rate in the 2 groups showed a statistically significant difference P = 0.04.

The type of closure programmed was effective in almost all patients, allowing to avoid the possibility of a CSF leak. Our protocol showed a significant total reduction in the incidence of CSF leak, but especially in that subgroup of patients where a leak is usually unexpected.

*Department of Neurosciences—Neurosurgery Unit

Department of Odontostomatoly Sciences and Maxillo Facial Surgery—Maxillo Facial Unit, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy

Neurosurgery-Southmead Hospital, North Bristol NHS Trust, Bristol, UK.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Martina Cappelletti, MD, Department of Neurology and Psychiatry—Neurosurgery Unit, Sapienza University of Rome, Viale del Policlinico 155 00161 Rome, Italy; E-mail:

Received 3 June, 2018

Accepted 5 March, 2019

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

© 2019 by Mutaz B. Habal, MD.