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J Neurosurg. 2020 Jan 3:1-13. doi: 10.3171/2019.10.JNS192138. [Epub ahead of print]

Endoscopic approaches to orbital lesions: case series and systematic literature review.

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1Center for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Hypothalamic-Pituitary Diseases, Pituitary Unit, and.
2Department of Biomedical and Neuromotor Sciences (DIBINEM) and.
3ENT Department, Bellaria Hospital; and.
5Department of Neuroradiology, IRCCS Istituto delle Scienze Neurologiche di Bologna (Institute of Neurological Sciences of Bologna).
4Department of Biomedical and Neuromuscular Sciences, Section of Anatomic Pathology 'M. Malpighi' at Bellaria Hospital, University of Bologna, Italy.
6Department of Experimental, Diagnostic and Specialty Medicine (DIMES), University of Bologna.



Surgical treatment of orbital lesions is challenging because complex approaches with a high risk of postoperative sequelae are required. Recently, minimally invasive endoscopic approaches through endonasal (EEA) and transpalpebral (ETP) routes have been proposed. The objective of this study was to assess outcomes of EEA and ETP in the authors' series of patients with orbital lesions.


Data from all patients who underwent operations for an orbital tumor through an endoscopic approach at the authors' institution from 2002 to 2018 were retrospectively collected. All patients underwent preoperative MRI and ophthalmological evaluation, which was repeated 3 months after surgery and then at regular follow-up intervals. A systematic review of the literature was also performed using Medline, Embase, and Web of Science databases.


The series includes 23 patients (14 males); the mean patient age was 48 ± 23.9 years. Most of the lesions were intraconal (n = 19, 83%). The more frequent histotype was cavernous hemangioma (n = 5, 22%). Exophthalmos was the most common symptom (21 of 23 patients). EEA was performed in 16 cases (70%) and ETP in 7 (30%). The aim of the surgery was achieved in 94% of the cases after an EEA (successful biopsy in 5 of 6 cases and radical resection in all 10 remaining patients), and in 86% after an ETP (successful biopsy in 2 cases and radical tumor resection in 4 of 5 cases). Complications consisted of 3 cases (13%) of transitory diplopia. One recurrence (4%) was observed at follow-up (mean 59 ± 55 months).


The EEA and ETP have demonstrated to be safe and effective for tumors located respectively in medial and lateral quadrants, permitting one to approach orbital lesions endoscopically at 360°. Innovative surgical tools, including intraoperative ultrasonography, may be useful to potentially reduce surgical morbidity. Larger series are needed to validate these preliminary suggestions.


EEA = endoscopic endonasal approach; ETP = endoscopic transpalpebral approach; GTR = gross-total resection; LOE = level of evidence; WOS = Web of Science; cavernous hemangioma; endoscopic endonasal approach; endoscopic transpalpebral approach; glioma; intraoperative ultrasonography; orbit; surgical technique; tumor


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