Complications associated with the pedicled nasoseptal flap for skull base reconstruction

Ethan Soudry, Alkis J. Psaltis, Kun H. Lee, Reza Vaezafshar, Jayakar V. Nayak, Peter H. Hwang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Conclusion: The complication rate associated with nasoseptal flap elevation and inset is higher than previously described. The majority of complications became manifest beyond the immediate postoperative period and were associated with the septal donor site, including septal perforation, prolonged crusting, and cartilage necrosis. We hypothesize that donor site morbidity may be related to compromise of the contralateral septal vascular supply during the procedure. The range and frequency of complications of nasal septal flap surgery should be considered in counseling patients who may receive a nasoseptal flap for skull base reconstruction.

Objectives/Hypothesis: To analyze complications associated with nasoseptal flap elevation and reconstruction in endoscopic skull base surgery.

Study Design: Case series.

Methods: Retrospective chart review of all patients who underwent nasoseptal flap procedure in our institution between 2008 and 2013.

Results: A total of 121 patients were identified with a mean follow-up time of 10.4 months. Complications associated with this procedure occurred in 33 patients (27%). The majority of complications were related to the septal donor site and included septal perforation, cartilage necrosis, and prolonged crusting. Other complications included intraoperative injury to the flap pedicle (n54) or recurrent/persistent cerebrospinal fluid leak occurring in the early postoperative period (n57). Long-term quality-of-life data assessed via Sinonasal Outcome Test-22 questionnaires did not reveal notable differences when compared to preoperative scores.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-85
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Complications
  • Endoscopic skull base surgery
  • Nasoseptal flap
  • Pedicle
  • Septal flap
  • Skull base reconstruction


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