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Am J Rhinol. 2005 Sep-Oct;19(5):435-41.

Combined endoscopic trephination and endoscopic frontal sinusotomy for management of complex frontal sinus pathology.

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  • 1Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Head and Neck Institute, Section of Nasal and Sinus Disorders, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.



The advances in endoscopic sinus surgery have revolutionized the management of frontal sinus disease. Despite the successes, the purely endoscopic approach has its limitations, especially in patients with alterations in anatomy caused by previous surgical intervention or complex frontal sinus pneumatization patterns. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of combined endoscopic trephination and endoscopic frontal sinusotomy (the above and below approach) in the management of these difficult cases.


Chart review was performed on patients undergoing the combined approach from October 1999 to June 2004. Demographic data, symptomatology, comorbidity, previous surgery, and primary pathology were determined. Outcome was assessed based on subjective symptom relief and objective endoscopic patency.


Twenty-two patients with a mean age of 49.2 years underwent the combined approach. The primary pathology included mucoceles (15 patients), frontal sinusitis (2 patients), inverted papilloma (2 patients), osteoma (1 patient), fibrous dysplasia (1 patient), and pneumocephalus (1 patient). A total of 25 above and below procedures (22 primary and 3 revision procedures) were performed to manage the pathology. Postoperatively, headaches resolved in 47%, improved in 35%, and remained unchanged in 18% of the patients. Orbital symptoms resolved in 63%, improved in 25%, and remained unchanged in 12% of the patients. Endoscopic patency of the frontal sinusotomy was confirmed in 19 of 22 cases (86%) at a mean follow-up of 16.2 months.


Management of complex frontal sinus pathology may require adjunct approaches in conjunction to the standard endoscopic techniques. In this series, the above and below approach was used successfully in 22 patients. The combined approach may serve as an important adjunct for management of complex frontal sinus disease.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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