Endoscopic Repairs of Sinonasal Cerebrospinal Leaks: Outcome and Prognostic Factors

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The aim of this study was to review the management of sinonasal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks and outcome of endoscopic repairs and to provide experience regarding leaks at the lateral wall of sphenoid sinus and the posterior wall of frontal sinus.


Patients who underwent endoscopic repairs of CSF leaks were reviewed. Characteristics of different etiologies were compared, and prognostic factors were analyzed.


The study included 144 patients with 150 CSF leaks, in which spontaneous leaks account for 55%. Patients with traumatic leaks were significantly younger than those with spontaneous leaks (P = 0.012), and most traumatic leaks occurred in men (P < 0.001). The computed tomography scan showed an overall accuracy of 86.7%. For 17 leaks at the lateral wall of sphenoid sinus, transnasal (29%), transethmoid (24%), and transpterygoid (47%) approaches were used, with a success rate of 75%. For 11 defects at the posterior wall of the frontal sinus, 2 were managed by draf III surgery, and 3 by trephination-assisted procedure successfully. Success rate for primary repair was 95.6%, reaching 100% after a second repairing. Six leaks failed to be repaired included 4 spontaneous leaks, and 3 occurred at the lateral wall of the sphenoid sinus, 4 occurred in patients with elevated body mass index (BMI), 4 had evidence of raised intracranial pressure (ICP).


Repair of leaks at lateral sphenoid sinus and posterior frontal sinus could achieve favorable results via selected endoscopic approaches. The failure of repair was associated with inaccessible leak sites, spontaneous leaks, raised ICP, and elevated BMI.

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