Purely endoscopic endonasal surgery of the craniovertebral junction: A systematic review

Christina H. Fang, Remy Friedman, Sam D. Schild, Ira M. Goldstein, Soly Baredes, James K. Liu, Jean Anderson Eloy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Background: Endoscopic endonasal surgery (EES) is a relatively novel approach to the craniovertebral junction (CVJ). The purpose of this analysis is to determine the surgical outcomes of patients who undergo purely EES of the CVJ. Methods: A search for articles related to EES of the CVJ was performed using the MEDLINE/PubMed database. A bibliographic search was done for additional articles. Demographics, presenting symptoms, imaging findings, complications, follow-up, and patient outcomes were analyzed. Results: Eighty-five patients from 30 articles were included. The mean patient age was 47.9 ± 24.8 years (range, 3 to 96 years), with 44.7% being male. The most common presenting symptom was myelopathy (n = 64, 75.3%). The most common indications for surgery were brainstem compression secondary to basilar invagination (n = 41, 48.2%) and odontoid pannus (n = 20, 23.5%). Odontoidectomy was performed in 97.6% of cases. Intraoperative complications occurred in 16 patients (18.8%) and postoperative complications occurred in 18 patients (21.2%). Six patients developed postoperative respiratory failure necessitating a tracheostomy. Neurologic improvement was seen in 89.4% of patients at a mean follow-up of 22.2 months. Conclusion: Our analysis found that EES of the CVJ results in a high rate of neurologic improvement with acceptable complication rates. Given its minimally invasive nature and high success rate, this approach appears to be a reasonable alternative to the traditional transoral approach in select cases. This study represents the largest pooled sample size of EES of the CVJ to date. Increasing use of the endoscopic endonasal approach will allow for further studies with greater statistical power.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)754-760
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Forum of Allergy and Rhinology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Bulbomedullary junction
  • Cervicomedullary junction
  • Craniocervical junction
  • Craniovertebral junction
  • Endonasal endoscopic surgery
  • Endoscopic skull-base surgery
  • Odontoid endoscopic
  • Odontoidectomy
  • Skull base surgery
  • Transnasal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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