Endoscopic endonasal repair of encephaloceles of the lateral sphenoid sinus: multi-institution confirmation of a new classification

TitleEndoscopic endonasal repair of encephaloceles of the lateral sphenoid sinus: multi-institution confirmation of a new classification
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2024
AuthorsTosi U, Jackson C, D'Souza G, Rabinowitz M, Farrell C, Parsel SM, Anand VK, Kacker A, Tabaee A, Zenonos GA, Snyderman CH, Wang EW, Evans J, Rosen M, Nyquist G, Gardner PA, Schwartz TH
JournalJ Neurosurg
Date Published2024 Mar 01
KeywordsDry Eye Syndromes, Encephalocele, Endoscopy, Female, Humans, Hypesthesia, Male, Sphenoid Sinus

OBJECTIVE: Encephaloceles of the lateral sphenoid sinus are rare. Originally believed to be due to defects in a patent lateral craniopharyngeal canal (Sternberg canal), they are now thought to originate more commonly from idiopathic intracranial hypertension, not unlike encephaloceles elsewhere in the skull base. A new classification of these encephaloceles was recently introduced, which divided them in relation to the foramen rotundum. Whether this classification can be applied to a larger cohort from multiple institutions and whether it might be useful in predicting outcome is unknown. Thus, the authors' goal was to divide a multiinstitutional cohort of patients with lateral sphenoid encephaloceles into four subtypes to determine their incidence and any correlation with surgical outcome.

METHODS: A multicenter retrospective review of prospectively acquired databases was carried out across three institutions. Cases were categorized into one of four subtypes (type I, Sternberg canal; type II, medial to rotundum; type III, lateral to rotundum; and type IV, both medial and lateral with rotundum enlargement). Demographic and outcome metrics were collected. Kaplan-Meyer curves were used to determine the rate of recurrence after surgical repair.

RESULTS: A total of 49 patients (71% female) were included. The average BMI was 32.8. All encephaloceles fell within the classification scheme. Type III was the most common (71.4%), followed by type IV (16.3%), type II (10.2%), and type I (2%). Cases were repaired endonasally, via a transpterygoidal approach. Lumbar drains were placed in 78% of cases. A variety of materials was used for closure, with a nasoseptal flap used in 65%. After a mean follow-up of 47 months, there were 4 (8%) CSF leak recurrences, all in patients with type III or type IV leaks and all within 1 year of the first repair. Two leaks were fixed with ventriculoperitoneal shunt and reoperation, 1 with ventriculoperitoneal shunt only, and 1 with a lumbar drain only. Of 45 patients in whom detailed information was available, there were 12 (26.7%) with postoperative dry eye or facial numbness, with facial numbness occurring in type III or type IV defects only.

CONCLUSIONS: Endoscopic endonasal repair of lateral sphenoid wing encephaloceles is highly successful, but repair may lead to dry eye or facial numbness. True Sternberg (type I) leaks were uncommon. Failures and facial numbness occurred only in patients with type III and type IV leaks.

Alternate JournalJ Neurosurg
PubMed ID37877971