The aim of this study was to report the results in a consecutive series of patients who had undergone an endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) for drainage of a petrous apex cholesterol granuloma (CG).Seventeen cases with a confirmed diagnosis of petrous apex CG were identified from a database of more than 1600 patients who had undergone an EEA to skull base lesions at the authors' institution in the period from 1998 to 2011. Clinical outcomes were reviewed and compared with those in previous studies of open approaches.Nine patients underwent a transclival approach and 8 patients underwent a combined transclival and infrapetrous approach. A Silastic stent was used in 11 patients (65%), a miniflap in 4 (24%), and a simple marsupialization of the cyst in 3 (18%). All symptomatic patients had partial or complete improvement of their symptoms postoperatively and at the follow-up (mean follow-up 20 months, range 3-67 months). Complications developed in 3 patients (18%) including epistaxis, chronic serous otitis media, eye dryness, and a transient sixth cranial nerve palsy. Two patients (12%) had a symptomatic recurrence of the cyst requiring repeat endoscopic endonasal drainage. There were no instances of internal carotid artery injuries, CSF leaks, or new hearing loss. The mean postoperative hospital stay was 2 days (range 0.7-4.6 days). These results were comparable with those in previous studies of open approaches to petrous apex CGs. There was a strong correlation between the size of the cyst and the type of approach chosen (Rpb [point biserial correlation coefficient] = +0.67, p = 0.003359) and a very strong correlation between the degree of medial extension (defined by the V-angle) and the choice of approach (Rpb = +0.81, p < 0.0001). Based on these observations, the authors developed an algorithm for guiding the choice of the most appropriate route of drainage.The EEA is a safe and effective alternative to traditional open approaches to petrous apex CGs.
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