Optimizing Quality of Life and Minimizing Morbidity through Nasal Preservation in Endoscopic Skull Base Surgery: A Contemporary Review

Carlos Pinheiro-Neto, Nicholas R. Rowan, Maria Peris Celda, Debraj Mukherjee, Jamie J.Van Gompel, Garret Choby

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction  Endoscopic endonasal approaches (EEAs) are increasingly utilized for intracranial pathology. As opposed to sinonasal tumors, the nasal cavity is being used as a corridor to access these intracranial tumors but is not the site of primary surgical intent. Accordingly, there has been recent interest in preserving intranasal structures not directly involved by tumor and improving postoperative sinonasal quality of life (QOL). Objectives  The aim of the study is to highlight recent advances in EEA techniques focused on improving sinonasal QOL including turbinate preservation, reducing the morbidity of reconstructive techniques, and the development of alternative minimally invasive EEA corridors. Methods  The method of the study involves contemporary literature review and summary of implications for clinical practice. Results  Nasoseptal flap (NSF) harvest is associated with significant morbidity including septal perforation, prolonged nasal crusting, and external nasal deformities. Various grafting and local rotational flaps have demonstrated the ability to significantly limit donor site morbidity. Free mucosal grafts have re-emerged as a reliable reconstructive option for sellar defects with an excellent sinonasal morbidity profile. Middle turbinate preservation is achievable in most EEA cases and has not been shown to cause postoperative obstructive sinusitis. Recently developed minimally invasive EEA techniques such as the superior ethmoidal approach have been described to better preserve intranasal structures while allowing intracranial access to resect skull base tumors and have shown promising sinonasal QOL results. Conclusion  This contemporary review discusses balancing effective skull base reconstructive techniques with associated morbidity, the role of turbinate preservation in EEA, and the development of unique EEA techniques that allow for increased nasal structure preservation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)602-610
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neurological Surgery, Part B: Skull Base
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • CSF leak
  • chordoma
  • endoscopic skull base surgery
  • expanded endonasal approach
  • free mucosal graft
  • nasal preservation
  • nasoseptal flap
  • olfaction
  • quality of life
  • sinonasal malignancy
  • turbinates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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