Sinonasal Packing is Not a Requisite for Successful Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak Repair

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J Neurol Surg B Skull Base


Background: Numerous methods have been described to repair nasal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks. Most studies have focused on optimizing CSF leak repair success, leading to closure rates of 90 to 95%.

Objective: This study aimed to determine if excellent reconstruction rates could be achieved without using sinonasal packing.

Methods: A prospective case series of 73 consecutive patients with various CSF leak etiologies and skull base defects was conducted to evaluate reconstruction success without sinonasal packing. The primary outcome measure was postoperative CSF leak. Secondary outcome measures were postoperative epistaxis requiring intervention in operating room or emergency department, infectious sinusitis, and 22-item sinonasal outcome test (SNOT-22) changes.

Results: Mean age was 54.5 years and 64% were female. Multilayered reconstructions were performed in 55.3% of cases, with collagen or bone epidural inlay grafts, and nasal mucosal grafts or nasoseptal flaps for onlay layers. Onlay-only reconstructions with mucosal grafts or nasoseptal flaps were performed in 44.7% of cases. Tissue sealants were used in all cases, and lumbar drains were used in 40.8% of cases. There were two initial failures (97.4% initial success), but both resolved with lumbar drains alone (no revision surgeries). There were no instances of postoperative epistaxis requiring intervention in the operating room or emergency department. Infectious sinusitis occurred in 2.7% of patients in the first 3 months postoperatively. SNOT-22 did not change significantly from preoperatively to first postoperative visits, then improved over time.

Conclusion: Nasal CSF leaks from various etiologies and defect sites were successfully repaired without using sinonasal packing, and patients experienced minimal sinonasal morbidity.

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ePub ahead of print