Fluoroscopy-Assisted Transnasal Onyx Occlusion of the Eustachian Tube for Lateral Skull Base Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak Repair

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Abstract

Objectives

To describe transnasal Eustachian tube (ET) occlusion with a liquid embolic solution for lateral skull base cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks.

Design

A lateral skull base CSF fistula model was developed by the authors using fresh cadaveric heads. Using a transtympanic needle, regulated pressurized pigmented saline was continuously instilled into the middle ear space and visualized endoscopically in the nasopharynx. An angioembolization catheter was then placed through the cartilaginous ET orifice just medial to the bony ET. Under endoscopic and fluoroscopic guidance, a column of liquid embolic agent was deployed into the bony ET segment up to the middle ear space.

Setting

Tertiary care academic center.

Participants

Cadaveric specimens.

Main Outcome Measures

Cessation of CSF flow after occlusion at supraphysiologic pressures.

Results

In two cadavers, a CSF fistula model was developed and endoscopic visualization of irrigant flow into the nasopharynx was confirmed. Fluoroscopy provided adequate anatomic views of the ET and middle ear, in addition to dynamic views of embolization. Cessation of flow after occlusion was successfully achieved with pressures up to 25 mm Hg, which exceeds normal physiological intracranial pressure.

Conclusion

Eustachian tube occlusion with a liquid embolic solution is feasible in a novel cadaveric CSF leak model. In the future, this relatively short, straightforward procedure may become an outpatient alternative to manage intermittent or low-flow CSF fistulae following lateral skull base surgery.

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