Neurology India
menu-bar5 Open access journal indexed with Index Medicus
  Users online: 9509  
 Home | Login 
About Editorial board Articlesmenu-bullet NSI Publicationsmenu-bullet Search Instructions Online Submission Subscribe Videos Etcetera Contact
  Navigate Here 
 Resource Links
    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
    Article in PDF (673 KB)
    Citation Manager
    Access Statistics
    Reader Comments
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this Article
   Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded40    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal


Table of Contents    
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 67  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 71-72

Endoscopic transpterygoid repair of cerebrospinal fluid leaks from lateral recess of sphenoid

Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Skull Base Surgery, Nanavati Superspeciality Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Date of Web Publication7-Mar-2019

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Narayan Jayashankar
Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Skull Base Surgery, Nanavati Superspeciality Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0028-3886.253590

Rights and Permissions

How to cite this article:
Jayashankar N. Endoscopic transpterygoid repair of cerebrospinal fluid leaks from lateral recess of sphenoid. Neurol India 2019;67:71-2

How to cite this URL:
Jayashankar N. Endoscopic transpterygoid repair of cerebrospinal fluid leaks from lateral recess of sphenoid. Neurol India [serial online] 2019 [cited 2022 May 26];67:71-2. Available from: https://www.neurologyindia.com/text.asp?2019/67/1/71/253590

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) rhinorrhea was in the past exclusively considered the domain of neurosurgeons and treated through the craniotomy route. The first such neurosurgical repair of CSF leak was performed by Dandy in 1926. Hirsh in 1952 used a transnasal route to repair a sphenoid sinus CSF leak using septal flaps.[1] Harold Hopkins in 1960 developed the rod lens system that dramatically improved visualization, delivered distal illumination, and provided a wider field of visualization. Messerklinger in 1978 used the rod lens system to visualize the lateral nasal wall and study mucociliary transport, thus starting the transnasal endoscopic surgery revolution. Hosemann and Wigand reported on the successful use of endoscopes for transnasal repair of dural defects.[2] Closure of CSF rhinorrhea was then popularized transnasally using endoscopes by several others.[3],[4],[5] Endoscopic closure of CSF leaks has now become an accepted and standard practice. At our center, routinely endoscopic repair of CSF leaks is performed except when there is a posttraumatic persistent leak from the frontal sinus, for which a craniotomy is preferred with a multilayered closure including a pericranial flap. Interdisciplinary cooperation between the otorhinolaryngologist and the neurosurgeon is essential to achieve the best outcome with least morbidity.

Sphenoid lateral sinus leaks were considered to be spontaneous and from the Sternberg's canal. Sternberg's canal has been described as a point of incomplete bony fusion during the formation of sphenoid bone, located at the posterior portion of the lateral sphenoid wall, laterally and inferiorly to the maxillary (V2) division of the trigeminal nerve at the foramen rotundum. This closes with connective tissue after development and was considered as a point of least resistance in the lateral wall of sphenoid. However, the presence of Sternberg's canal as the etiological factor has been debated and this subject is extremely controversial. Baranano performed a high-resolution computed tomographic scan in 1000 sphenoid bones and concluded that only one sphenoid bone had a typical location of Sternberg's canal medial to the maxillary (V2) division of trigeminal nerve.[6] However, most CSF leaks from the lateral wall of sphenoid occur lateral to the V2 division of the trigeminal nerve and lateral to the centers of ossification. This is not the typical embryological location of the Sternberg's canal. Hence, the sites of leak in the lateral sphenoid recess are acquired rather than spontaneous. Arachnoid pits are consistently associated with CSF leaks occurring from the lateral sinus of sphenoid, and these pits when associated with intracranial hypertension [7] are considered as contributory factors for CSF rhinorrhea from this location. It is important to look for features suggestive of intracranial hypertension and arachnoid pits in the lateral wall of sphenoid in the preoperative scans of these subjects.[8],[9] Persistent intracranial hypertension causes these arachnoid pits to create a defect in the lateral sphenoid wall through which arachnoid herniates with the development of a meningocele [Figure 1] or meningoencephalocele. For obtaining a high sensitivity image, a computed tomography (CT) cisternography, magnetic resonance (MR) cisternography, or a combination of both – a high-resolution CT and MR cisternography – in the presence of inactive leaks, is recommended.
Figure 1: Coronal heavily T2-weighted image reveals a lobulated CSF intensity area extending along the inferomedial margin of the right temporal lobe, herniating through the lateral recess of sphenoid into the sphenoid sinus. This represents a meningocele

Click here to view

There have been various reports in literature about CSF leaks occurring from the lateral recess of sphenoid. The transpterygoid approach to the lateral recess of sphenoid to plug the CSF leak has been described in various publications.[10],[11],[12] Others have also described associated expansile lesions like meningoencephalocele, mucocoele, tumors, and malignancy. It should be noted that meningoencephaloceles [13],[14],[15] are frequently associated with leaks from lateral recess of the sphenoid. The approach is mainly characterized by a wide maxillary antrostomy upto the posterior wall of maxillary antrum. The posterior wall of maxillary sinus is removed in its medial half to expose the pterygopalatine fossa. The sphenopalatine artery is located just posterior to the crista ethmoidalis and is isolated and clipped. An ethmoidectomy and sphenoidotomy is also performed. The sphenoidotomy opening is widened laterally. Exposure of the lateral recess of sphenoid is limited by the base of pterygoid. The pterygopalatine ganglion and the associated neurovascular structures are retracted and the pterygoid base is drilled out to expose the lateral recess.

The article by Rajasekar G et al.,[16] discusses their experience with seven subjects of CSF leak from the lateral recess of sphenoid sinus with different etiologies. Five subjects had features of raised intracranial pressure. They have described the standard endoscopic transpterygoid approach for access to this area. It is noted that they have retracted the pterygopalatine ganglion laterally to drill the base of pterygoid. This step is important to preserve the neurovascular structures in the area and thereby retain a good quality of life in these subjects following the procedure.[13] They have sealed the defect with inlay fat, fascia lata, and cartilage. They have used a pedicled nasoseptal flap in four subjects and a free mucosal graft from the ipsilateral middle turbinate in three subjects. They have outlined their preference for using the pedicled flap in large defects or bilateral defects. This is a perfectly acceptable technique.[16] I personally, however, plug the defect with inlay fat, onlay fascia with the cartilage over it, pushing the fascia into the defect similar to a gasket seal of the defect. The cartilage thus snugly fits the defect like a cork. The pedicled nasoseptal flap from the opposite side is used additionally by me since these leaks are usually associated with raised intracranial pressure and the bone around the defect may be rarefied. The nasoseptal flap covers a broader area than the defect, and thus, in my view, offers protection to the lateral sphenoid wall surrounding the defect. As mentioned in the article by Rajasekar et al., it is very important to deal with the etiology causing the raised intracranial pressure or alternatively use a CSF diversion in these cases of raised ICP. Their excellent technique has also been reflected in their results wherein there has been no recurrence of CSF leak in their series during a mean follow-up of 16.5 months.

  References Top

Hirsch O. Successful closure of cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhoea by endonasal surgery. Arch Otolaryngol 1952;56:1-13.  Back to cited text no. 1
Hosemann W, Nitsche N, Rettinger G, Wigand ME. Endonasal, endoscopically controlled repair of dura defects of the anterior skull base. Laryngorhinootologie 1991;70:115-9.  Back to cited text no. 2
Anand VK, Murali RK, Glasgold MJ. Surgical decisions in the management of cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhoea. Rhinology 1995;33:212-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
Lanza DC, O'Brien DA, Kennedy DW. Endoscopic repair of cerebrospinal fluid fistulae and encephaloceles. Laryngoscope 1996;106:1119-25.  Back to cited text no. 4
Sethi DS, Chan C, Pillay PK. Endoscopic management of cerebrospinal fluid fistulae and traumatic cephalocoele. Ann Acad Med Singapore 1996;25:724-7.  Back to cited text no. 5
Barañano CF, Curé J, Palmer JN, Woodworth BA. Sternberg's canal: Fact or fiction? Am J Rhinol Allergy 2009;23:167-71.  Back to cited text no. 6
Illing E, Schlosser RJ, Palmer JN, Curé J, Fox N, Woodworth BA. Spontaneous sphenoid lateral recess cerebrospinal fluid leaks arise from intracranial hypertension, not Sternberg's canal. Int Forum Allergy Rhinol 2014;4:246-50.  Back to cited text no. 7
Shetty PG, Shroff MM, Fatterpekar GM, Sahani DV, Kirtane MV. A retrospective analysis of spontaneous sphenoid sinus fistula: MR and CT findings. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol 2000;21:337-42.  Back to cited text no. 8
Schuknecht B, Simmen D, Briner HR, Holzmann D. Nontraumatic skull base defects with spontaneous CSF rhinorrhea and arachnoid herniation: Imaging findings and correlation with endoscopic sinus surgery in 27 patients. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol 2008;29:542-9.  Back to cited text no. 9
Al-Nashar IS, Carrau RL, Herrera A, Snyderman CH. Endoscopic transnasal transpterygopalatine fossa approach to the lateral recess of the sphenoid sinus. Laryngoscope 2004;114:528-32.  Back to cited text no. 10
Bolger WE. Endoscopic transpterygoid approach to the lateral sphenoid recess: Surgical approachand clinical experience. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2005;133:20-6.  Back to cited text no. 11
Castelnuovo P, Dallan I, Pistochini A, Battaglia P, Locatelli D, Bignami M. Endonasal endoscopic repair of Sternberg's canal cerebrospinal fluid leaks. Laryngoscope 2007;117:345-9.  Back to cited text no. 12
Zoli M, Farneti P, Ghirelli M, Giulioni M, Frank G, Mazzatenta D, et al. Meningocele and meningoencephalocele of the lateral wall of sphenoidal sinus: The role of the endoscopic endonasal surgery. World Neurosurg 2016;87:91-7.  Back to cited text no. 13
Ulu MO, Aydin S, Kayhan A, Ozoner B, Kucukyuruk B, Ugurlar D. Surgical management of sphenoid sinus lateral recess cerebrospinal fluid leaks: A single neurosurgical center analysis of endoscopic endonasal minimal transpterygoid approach. World Neurosurg 2018;118:473-82.  Back to cited text no. 14
Pinheiro-Neto CD, Fernandez-Miranda JC, Prevedello DM, Carrau RL, Gardner PA, Snyderman CH. Transposition of the pterygopalatine fossa during endoscopic endonasal transpterygoid approaches. J Neurol Surg B Skull Base 2013;74:266-70.  Back to cited text no. 15
Rajasekar G, Nair P, Abraham M, Felix V, Karthikayan A. Cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea from the lateral recess of sphenoid sinus: More to it than meets the eye. Neurol India 2019;67:201-6.  Back to cited text no. 16
  [Full text]  


  [Figure 1]


Print this article  Email this article
Online since 20th March '04
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow