Systematic Review of Endoscopic Obliteration Techniques for Managing Congenital Piriform Fossa Sinus Tracts in Children

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Piriform fossa sinus tracts (PFSTs) are a recognized cause of recurrent deep neck infections in the pediatric population. Conventional management has historically required open resection, but over recent years minimally invasive endoscopic approaches to obliterate the pharyngeal opening of the sinus have been performed in many centers. However, there is a lack of clear evidence regarding the success rate and safety of these approaches.


To determine the success rate of endoscopic management of PFST through a systematic review of the existing literature.

Data Sources

MEDLINE (1964-2014) and bibliographies of identified papers.

Review Methods

Two authors independently reviewed 170 abstracts and identified relevant studies for full-text review. Data were independently extracted from those studies, and the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine guidelines were used to classify the level of evidence.


Thirteen studies met the inclusion criteria, comprising a total of 84 patients. All included studies were evidence level 4 (case series). Various methods of obliterating the PFST were described: electrocautery (n = 39), laser (n = 19), trichloroacetic acid (n = 19), silver nitrate (n = 4), combination of silver nitrate and laser (n = 2), and fibrin glue (n = 1). The success rate for endoscopic management of PFST was 89.3% overall (90.5% in primary cases and 85.7% in revision cases). The only adverse event reported was temporary vocal cord immobility in 2.4% (n = 2) of cases.


Endoscopic management of pediatric PFST appears to be safe and effective, as a primary option and for revision after open surgery.

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