Endoscopic skull base reconstruction with the nasoseptal flap: complications and risk factors

Anat Wengier, Zvi Ram, Anton Warshavsky, Nevo Margalit, Dan M. Fliss, Avraham Abergel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The endoscopic endonasal approach is increasingly being used for resection and reconstruction of anterior skull base lesions. The vascularized nasoseptal flap (NSF) has become the workhorse for reconstruction of anterior skull base defects, resulting in a significant decrease in the incidence of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak. This study presents a single center’s experience with NSFs and reports associated complications. Methods: Patients who underwent endoscopic skull base defect repair with a NSF between 2008 and 2014 were retrospectively evaluated. Complications reviewed were divided into major and minor. Major complications included new-onset and continuing CSF leak and meningitis. Minor complications included long-standing crust formation, synechia, epistaxis, septal perforation, sinusitis and anosmia. Results: Of the 77 patients included in the study, 47 (61%) underwent trans-sphenoidal surgery for pituitary lesions during which CSF leak was observed. The other 30 patients underwent reconstructive surgeries for post-traumatic CSF leaks or extirpation of lesions involving the anterior skull base. A high-flow intra-operative CSF leak was observed in 25 patients (25/77, 32%). The median follow-up was 16 months (range 3–81 months). 9 patients had major complications and 27 patients had minor complications. Only high-flow intra-operative CSF leak correlated with major complications (p = 0.012). Conclusion: NSF is an extremely effective tool for skull base reconstruction. While it is associated with a low rate of major complications, minor complications are frequent and require local treatment, although they tend to resolve in the late postoperative period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2491-2498
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2019


  • Endoscopy
  • Nasoseptal flap
  • Paranasal sinuses
  • Reconstruction
  • Skull base


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