Repair of middle fossa cerebrospinal fluid leaks using a novel combination of materials

Neurosurg Focus 32 (6):E8, 2012. (

Methods for repairing middle fossa CSF (MFCSF) leaks have varied and yielded mixed results. The objective of this study was to evaluate the safety and durability of the authors’ repair technique using a novel combination of 3 synthetic materials.

Methods. The authors performed a retrospective case review of patients treated for CSF leaks between January 2009 and September 2011. Eight patients were found to have undergone middle fossa craniotomies for CSF leaks. Inclusion criteria for the study included age greater than 18 years, neuroimaging-documented temporal bone defect, and symptoms consistent with CSF leaks or gross CSF otorrhea. Seven patients, 3 men and 4 women, met the inclusion criteria, and their charts were reviewed. Hydroxyapatite cement, collagen-based dural substitute matrix, and polyethylene glycol hydrogel sealant were used in all patients for the repair.

Results. In all patients the MFCSF leaks were successfully repaired. Initial presenting symptoms included CSF otorrhea in 4 patients (57.1%), hearing loss in 3 (42.9%), and CSF rhinorrhea in 1 (14.3%). The mean follow-up duration was 12 months (range 5–33 months). In 1 patient an epidural hematoma developed at the operative site on postoperative Day 2, and in another patient a superficial wound dehiscence occurred on postoperative Day 48. During the follow-up period, the authors found no evidence of wound infections, neurovascular damage, or CSF leakage requiring reoperation.

Conclusions. The middle fossa approach involving a combination of hydroxyapatite cement, collagen-based dural substitute matrix, and polyethylene glycol hydrogel sealant is a safe, effective method for repairing MFCSF leaks. The combination of synthetic materials provides an alternative to existing materials for skull base surgeons.