J Neurosurg 132:371–379, 2020
Endonasal surgery of the skull base requires watertight reconstruction of the skull base that can seal the dural defect to prevent postoperative CSF rhinorrhea and consequent intracranial complications. Although the incidence of CSF leakage has decreased significantly since the introduction in 2006 of the vascularized nasoseptal flap (the Hadad- Bassagasteguy flap), reconstruction of extensive skull base dural defects remains challenging. The authors describe a new, modified vascularized nasoseptal flap for reconstruction of extensive skull base dural defects.
METHODS A retrospective review was conducted on 39 cases from 2010 to 2017 that involved reconstruction of the skull base with an endonasal vascularized flap. Extended nasoseptal flaps were generated by adding the nasal floor and inferior meatus mucosa, inferior turbinate mucosa, or entire lateral nasal wall mucosa. The authors specifically highlight the surgical techniques for flap design and harvesting of these various modifications of the vascularized nasoseptal flap.
RESULTS Thirty-nine endonasal vascularized flaps were used to reconstruct skull base defects in 37 patients with nonsurgical or postoperative CSF rhinorrhea. Of the 39 procedures, extended nasoseptal flaps were used in 5 cases (13%). These included 2 extended nasoseptal flaps including the inferior turbinate mucosa and 3 extended nasoseptal flaps including the entire lateral nasal wall mucosa. These 5 extended nasoseptal flaps were used in patients who had nonsurgical CSF rhinorrhea due to extensive skull base destruction by invasive pituitary tumors. All flaps healed completely and sealed off the CSF leaks. Olfactory function slightly decreased in the 3 patients with extended nasoseptal flaps including the entire lateral nasal wall mucosa. One patient experienced nasolacrimal duct obstruction, which was treated by dacryocystorhinostomy. The authors encountered no wound complication in this series, while crusting at the donor site required daily nasal toilette and frequent debridement until the completion of mucosalization, which usually takes 8 to 12 weeks after surgery.
CONCLUSIONS Extended nasoseptal flaps are a reliable and versatile option that can be used to reconstruct extensive skull base dural defects resulting from destruction by large invasive tumors or complex endoscopic endonasal surgery. An extended nasoseptal flap that includes the entire lateral nasal wall mucosa (360° flap) is the largest endonasal vascularized flap reported to date and may be an alternative for the reconstruction of extensive skull base defects while avoiding the need for additional external approaches.