European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology

, Volume 275, Issue 5, pp 1149–1156 | Cite as

Endoscopic transnasal surgery of clival lesions: our experience

  • Daniele Marchioni
  • Angelo Musumeci
  • Cristoforo Fabbris
  • Stefano De Rossi
  • Davide Soloperto



The clivus is a region characterized by complex anatomy, with vascular and neural structures that are located in close proximity. Different pathologies can affect this area, and traditional surgical approaches were open approaches. Recently, the endoscopic transnasal technique has been introduced, and currently represents a good alternative for the surgical management of these lesions. This is a preliminary report on patients treated endoscopically for clival lesions by the authors’ Skull Base Team.

Patients and methods

This was a retrospective chart review of patients who underwent an endoscopic exclusive transnasal approach (EEA) or a transoral one (TO) for clival lesions between June 2015 and November 2017 at our Skull Base Referral Center. Patient characteristics and symptoms, preoperative neuroradiological evaluation, surgical approach, complications, and postoperative results were evaluated.


Nine patients (6 females and 3 males; age range 6–82 years, mean 50.8 years) underwent EEA or TO. From histological analysis, we found chordomas (6/9 subjects), chondrosarcoma (1/9), craniopharyngioma (1/9), and eosinophilic granuloma (1/9). Three patients had previously been operated for a parasellar chondrosarcoma (1/9), a pituitary macroadenoma (1/9), or a chondroid chordoma (1/9). The lesions were totally (2/9) or sub-totally (5/9) resected, debulked (1/9), or analyzed with a biopsy (1/9). Reconstruction was accomplished with a multilayer technique (7/9), or with a gasket–seal (1/9), using a mucoperichondrial graft, a single/double nasoseptal flap, a middle turbinate flap, a fascia lata, or a synthetic fascia. One patient (11.1%) was re-operated on due to cerebrospinal leakage, without further complications. Two patients (22.2%) were re-operated on due to chordoma regrowth. Adjuvant chemotherapy was administered to 1/9 patient with progressive healing. All of the other patients underwent proton-beam radiotherapy with no documented tumor growth (median follow-up: 20 months; range 5.1–29.9 months).


Clival lesions represent a heterogeneous group of lesions located in a very complex and difficult area. EEA and TO approaches are safe and mini-invasive, with lower morbidity and with postoperative complications when compared to the traditional open approaches, according to the extent and type of pathology.


Clivus Chordoma Craniopharyngioma Chondrosarcoma Eosinophilic granuloma Transnasal endoscopy 



They have no funding to disclose.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest.

Research involving animal and human participants

This research involved human participants, who all signed an informed consent before any further treatment.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of OtolaryngologyUniversity Hospital of VeronaVeronaItaly
  2. 2.Department of NeurosurgeryUniversity Hospital of VeronaVeronaItaly

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