Postoperative epistaxis and sphenoid sinus ostial stenosis after posterior septal branch injury during sphenoidotomy

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Int Forum Allergy Rhinol


BACKGROUND: Postoperative arterial epistaxis and sphenoid sinus stenosis after sphenoidotomies for endoscopic sinus surgery (ESS) and transsphenoidal approaches (TSAs) are uncommon. One potential source of epistaxis after sphenoidotomy is the sphenopalatine artery's posterior septal branch (PSB). PSB injury, in addition to other factors, could increase the risk of sphenoid stenosis. The purpose of this study was to determine incidence of, and risks factors for, the following outcomes after sphenoidotomy: PSB injury; postoperative epistaxis from the injured PSB; and sphenoid stenosis after PSB injury.

METHODS: A single-institution, prospective case series was conducted based on 233 sphenoidotomies performed during ESS (n = 163) and TSAs (n = 70). Outcome measures included intraoperative PSB injury, postoperative epistaxis from the PSB, and sphenoid stenosis.

RESULTS: The incidence of PSB injury was 17.2% during ESS-related sphenoidotomies, and 5.7% during TSA-related sphenoidotomies (p = 0.010). After PSB injury during ESS- and TSA-related sphenoidotomies (n = 32), there was 1 instance of epistaxis from the PSB (3.1%). Of the 161 ESS-related sphenoidotomies, 6 developed complete or near-complete stenosis (3.7%), which was more likely to occur with smaller anterior sphenoid face dimensions (p = 0.001). PSB injury, revision sphenoidotomy, and other factors did not increase the risk of stenosis. None of the TSA-related sphenoidotomies stenosed completely. Median follow-up was 7 months.

CONCLUSION: PSB injury occurred in 17.2% of ESS-related sphenoidotomies and 5.8% of TSA-related sphenoidotomies. After PSB injury, postoperative epistaxis from the PSB was rare (3.1%). After ESS-related sphenoidotomies, sphenoid stenosis was rare (3.7%), and was more likely to occur with smaller sphenoid dimensions, but not with PSB injury or other factors.

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ePub ahead of print