Utility of early postoperative imaging after combined endoscopic and open ventral skull base surgery

Zachary S. Mendelson, Kristen A. Echanique, Meghan M. Crippen, Alejandro Vazquez, James K. Liu, Jean Anderson Eloy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: Immediate postoperative imaging is frequently obtained after combined skull base surgery (SBS) with endoscopic endonasal and open transcranial approaches. The importance of early postoperative imaging for detecting complications in these patients is still debatable. In this study, we investigated the clinical utility of early postoperative imaging after combined SBS for determination of postoperative complications. Methods: A retrospective chart analysis of 21 cases of combined SBS between 2009 and 2015 was performed. Data on postoperative computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and the hospital course were collected. We separated interpretations of postoperative imaging into two groups: (1) when using the radiologist's interpretation alone, and (2) when using the surgeon's knowledge of the case in conjunction with imaging. Results: Forty-Two postoperative scans were obtained (21 CT, 21 MRI) within 48 hours of surgery. There was a significant statistical difference between imaging interpretation by surgeons and radiologists for CT interpretation only. For CT interpretation the true positive (TP), false positive (FP), true negative (TN), and false negative (FN) rates for radiologists (TP, 0/21; FP, 6/21; TN, 11/21; FN, 4/21) slightly deviated from surgeons' interpretation (TP, 1/21 [p - 0.9999]; FP, 0/21 [p - 0.0207]; TN, 17/21 [p - 0.1000]; FN, 3/21 [p - 1.000]). Rates for MRI interpretation by both groups were nearly identical, with no significant difference found. Overall, four patients experienced seven postoperative complications, which led to a complication rate of 19.0% (4/21). The patients exhibited clinical symptoms in all instances of postoperative complications that required further intervention. Conclusion: The benefit of early postoperative imaging to detect complications after combined SBS was limited. In this cohort of patients, positive imaging findings' effects on patient management were dictated by the presence of supporting clinical symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-189
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Rhinology and Allergy
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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