CSF rhinorrhoea after endonasal intervention to the anterior skull base (CRANIAL): proposal for a prospective multicentre observational cohort study

Neurology and Neurosurgery Interest Group (NANSIG), British Neurosurgical Trainee Research Collaborative (BNTRC), CRANIAL Steering Committee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The endonasal transsphenoidal approach (TSA) has emerged as the preferred approach in order to treat pituitary adenoma and related sellar pathologies. The recently adopted expanded endonasal approach (EEA) has improved access to the ventral skull base whilst retaining the principles of minimally invasive surgery. Despite the advantages these approaches offer, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) rhinorrhoea remains a common complication. There is currently a lack of comparative evidence to guide the best choice of skull base reconstruction, resulting in considerable heterogeneity of current practice. This study aims to determine: (1) the scope of the methods of skull base repair; and (2) the corresponding rates of postoperative CSF rhinorrhoea in contemporary neurosurgical practice in the UK and Ireland. Methods: We will adopt a multicentre, prospective, observational cohort design. All neurosurgical units in the UK and Ireland performing the relevant surgeries (TSA and EEA) will be eligible to participate. Eligible cases will be prospectively recruited over 6 months with 6 months of postoperative follow-up. Data points collected will include: demographics, tumour characteristics, operative data), and postoperative outcomes. Primary outcomes include skull base repair technique and CSF rhinorrhoea (biochemically confirmed and/or requiring intervention) rates. Pooled data will be analysed using descriptive statistics. All skull base repair methods used and CSF leak rates for TSA and EEA will be compared against rates listed in the literature. Ethics and dissemination: Formal institutional ethical board review was not required owing to the nature of the study–this was confirmed with the Health Research Authority, UK. Conclusions: The need for this multicentre, prospective, observational study is highlighted by the relative paucity of literature and the resultant lack of consensus on the topic. It is hoped that the results will give insight into contemporary practice in the UK and Ireland and will inform future studies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish journal of neurosurgery
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sept 2020


  • Cerebrospinal fluid
  • CSF
  • CSF leak
  • neuroendoscopy
  • pituitary surgery
  • skull base tumours


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