Supraorbital Keyhole Approach to the Skull Base: Evaluation of Complications Related to CSF Fistulas and Opened Frontal Sinus

Firas Thaher, Nikolai Hopf, Anne Katrin Hickmann, Peter Kurucz, Markus Bittl, Hans Henkes, Guenther C. Feigl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


AimCerebrospinal fluid (CSF) rhinorrhea due to a breach in the frontal sinus (FS) presents one of the main postoperative complications of the supraorbital keyhole approach. The goal of this study was to further analyze the actual surgical morbidity and potential risk for patients due to an opened FS after a surgery via a supraorbital craniotomy and compare the results with data published in the current literature. Methods and PatientsA total of 350 consecutive patients who underwent surgeries via the supraorbital keyhole approach for various lesions were included in this retrospective study. Information on clinical history, neurologic symptoms, surgical approach, and postoperative complications was obtained retrospectively by a review of the patients' charts, the radiologic reports, and a thorough review of pre- and postoperative cranial computed tomography (CCT) imaging. ResultsThe frequency of CSF rhinorrhea after this type of craniotomy in the literature is reported to range between 0% and 9.1%. In this study, analysis of postoperative CCT scans revealed that 88 patients (25.1%) showed a radiographic breach of the FS. Only 8 of these patients (2.3%) developed a CSF leak with rhinorrhea postoperatively. In all cases conservative treatment with lumbar drainage failed, and therefore a surgical revision for permanent closure was required. Only one patient (0.3%) with a CSF leak also developed meningitis. ConclusionInadvertent opening of the FS during the supraorbital craniotomy is a common surgery-related morbidity; however, the risk for the patient to develop a potentially dangerous meningitis was found to be minimal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433-437
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neurological Surgery, Part A: Central European Neurosurgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015


  • cerebrospinal fluid leak
  • meningitis
  • supraorbital keyhole approach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery
  • Medicine(all)


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