Outcomes after mini-craniotomy middle fossa approach combined with mastoidectomy for lateral skull base defects

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Purpose: Controversy exists regarding the ideal approach for repair of lateral skull base defects. Our goal is to report the outcomes following middle cranial fossa (MCF) mini-craniotomy combined with mastoidectomy for patients with superior semicircular canal dehiscence (SSCD), spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak, and cholesteatoma. Materials and methods: A retrospective database from chart review was formed consisting of 97 patients who met surgical criteria: SSCD, spontaneous CSF leak, and cholesteatoma. Mini-craniotomy MCF approach (<4 × 2 cm in size) combined with mastoidectomy was performed. All patients were admitted directly to the ICU postoperatively. Multiple factors were assessed, including need for revision surgery, duration of surgery, length of post-operative stay, and hospital readmission. Results: Average surgery time was 110 min with no intraoperative complications. The average length of hospitalization was 2 days with an average ICU stay of 1 day. There were no neurologic complications; however, there were 3 inpatient complications (3%) which included 1 patient (1%) that had wound breakdown and 2 patients (2%) that had severe post-operative vertigo. A total of 8 patients (8%) required revision surgery and these were primarily for SSCD. The 30-day readmission rate was 3%. Conclusion: In the current series, all patients that underwent mini-craniotomy MCF surgery combined with mastoidectomy had minimal complications, short surgical time, limited hospital stay, low revision surgery rate and few hospital readmissions. This combined approach offers superior visualization of lateral skull base defects without the morbidity and risk typically associated with traditional, extensive MCF surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102794
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • Cholesteatoma
  • Lateral skull base defect
  • Middle cranial fossa
  • Mini-craniotomy
  • Spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid leak
  • Superior canal dehiscence
  • Temporal bone meningocele


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