Endoscopic skull base surgery (ESBS) is a minimal-access technique that provides an alternative to traditional approaches. Patient-reported outcomes are becoming increasingly important in measuring the success of surgical interventions. Endoscopic skull base surgery may lead to improvements in quality of life (QOL) since natural orifices are used to reach the pathology; however, sinonasal QOL may be negatively affected. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of ESBS on both site-specific QOL, using the Anterior Skull Base Questionnaire (ASBQ), and sinonasal-related QOL, using the Sino-Nasal Outcome Test (SNOT-22).
Consecutive patients from a tertiary referral center who were undergoing ESBS were prospectively enrolled in this study. All patients completed the ASBQ and SNOT-22 preoperatively as well as at regular intervals after ESBS.
Sixty-six patients were included in the study, and 57.6% of them had pituitary adenoma. There was no significant decline or improvement in the ASBQ-measured QOL at 3 and 6 weeks after ESBS, but there were significant improvements at 12 weeks and 6 months postoperatively (p < 0.05). Improvements were noted in all but one ASBQ subdomain at 12 weeks and 6 months postsurgery (p < 0.05). Preoperative QOL was significantly worse in patients who had undergone revision surgery and significantly improved postoperatively in patients who underwent gross-total resection (p < 0.05). Scores on the SNOT-22 worsened at 3 weeks postoperatively and returned to baseline thereafter. The presence of a nasoseptal flap or a graft-donor site did not contribute to a decreased QOL.
Endoscopic skull base surgery is associated with an improvement in postoperative site-specific QOL as compared with the preoperative QOL. Short-term improvements are greater if gross-total resection is achieved. Sinonasal QOL transiently declines and then returns to preoperative baseline levels. Endoscopic skull base surgery is a valuable tool in the neurosurgical management of anterior skull base pathology, leading to improvements in site-specific QOL.