Endoscopic skull base surgery practice patterns: survey of the North American Skull Base Society

Authors

  • Pete S. Batra MD, FACS,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Comprehensive Skull Base Program, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX
    • Correspondence to: Pete S. Batra, MD, FACS, Comprehensive Skull Base Program, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas, TX 75390; e-mail: pete.batra@utsouthwestern.edu

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  • Jivianne Lee MD,

    1. Orange County Sinus Institute, Southern California Permanente Medical Group (SCPMG), Irvine, CA
    2. Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
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  • Samuel L. Barnett MD,

    1. Department of Neurosurgery, Comprehensive Skull Base Program, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX
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  • Brent A. Senior MD, FACS,

    1. Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC
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  • Michael Setzen MD, FACS,

    1. Michael Setzen Otolaryngology, Great Neck, NY
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  • Dennis H. Kraus MD

    1. New York Head and Neck Institute, Northshore Health System, New York, NY
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  • Potential conflict of interest: P.S.B.: Research grants (ARS, Medtronic), consultant (Medtronic). J.L.: None. S.L.B.: None. B.A.S.: Consultant (Medtronic, Olympus). M.S.: Speaker's bureau (Teva). D.H.K.: Speaker's bureau (Endoethicon).

Abstract

Background

The objective of this study was to evaluate the potential impact of advanced endoscopic techniques on the current practice patterns in skull base surgery.

Methods

A 20-item written survey approved by the American Rhinologic Society (ARS) and North American Skull Base Society (NASBS) was conducted at the 22nd Annual NASBS meeting in Las Vegas, NV, from February 17 to 19, 2012. The target group included 212 practicing skull base surgeons.

Results

Seventy-nine physicians (37.3%) completed the survey. The subspecialty composition was 42 (53%) otolaryngologists and 35 (44%) neurosurgeons. The respondents represented all regions of the country, with most common being the North Central (24%) and Mid-Atlantic (23%) states. Open and endoscopic skull base techniques were used by 91% and 80%, respectively. During a typical year, the number of endoscopic skull base cases ranged between 20 and 50 in 32%, 50 to 100 in 13%, and >100 in 8%. Endoscopic pituitary surgery was performed by 95%, while transcribriform, transplanum, and transclival approaches were performed by 70.5%, 66%, and 66%, respectively. Wide variation in coding philosophy was noted, including use of unlisted neurosurgical (28%), open skull base (28%), unlisted endoscopic (24%), and sinus surgery (20%) codes. Only 30% of physicians reported adequate reimbursement in ≥50% of the performed cases. Overall, 87% were supportive of the creation of dedicated endoscopic skull base codes.

Conclusion

The present survey attests to the widespread adaptation of endoscopic techniques in the management schema of skull base surgery. The wide variation in coding techniques and inadequate reimbursement suggests that future dialogue should also focus on developing consensus with respect to the coding and billing process.

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