Minimally Invasive Surgery for Pott’s Puffy Tumor: Is It Time for a Paradigm Shift in Managing a 250-Year-Old Problem?

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The aim of this study was to review the clinical outcomes and efficacy of endoscopic sinus surgery (ESS) in the management of Pott’s puffy tumor (PPT).


Literature PubMed review using a combination of MeSH terms and keywords was undertaken, combined with a single surgeon case series of 3 patients.


A total of 29 (20 males, median age 25 years) cases were reviewed. The most common etiology was acute frontal sinusitis (62%), followed by a history of chronic rhinosinusitis (28%). Two patients presented with concomitant preseptal cellulitis and cutaneous fistula each, while another had pneumocephalus. The majority of cases (59%) had Draf 1 procedure. Three cases had Draf 3 procedure. Five cases were successfully treated by sinus balloon sinuplasty. Postoperatively, most patients had either oral or intravenous antibiotics of varying duration. There were no further complications following ESS. Both fistulas healed without requiring surgical debridement or closure.


Some PPT cases can be managed endoscopically. The availability of powered angled instruments, high-definition video, and image guidance systems have provided the modern otolaryngologists with a credible alternative to traditional techniques. Furthermore, improved bioavailability of modern antibiotics may obviate the need for craniotomy and external drains.

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