• endonasal surgery;
  • endoscopic;
  • skull base;
  • cranial base;
  • pituitary surgery;
  • quality-of-life;
  • outcomes research


Endoscopic skull-base surgery (ESBS) is a minimal access approach to cranial base pathology; however, it significantly disrupts the intranasal mucosa and intranasal structures, the long-term effects of which are still being studied. We prospectively assessed postoperative changes in sinonasal QOL symptoms following ESBS.


Eighty-five patients were prospectively assessed with the Anterior Skull Base Questionnaire (ASBQ), a validated QOL instrument, preoperatively and up to 1 year postoperatively at each subsequent office visit. A subset of these data was analyzed to assess the effect of endoscopic pituitary surgery on postoperative taste, smell, appetite, nasal secretions, and vision.


ESBS patients were divided into 2 cohorts: those undergoing pituitary adenoma surgery and those undergoing ESBS for all other pathologies. Preoperative smell (3.11 vs 3.76, p = 0.03) and taste (3.04 vs 3.69, p = 0.03) were significantly lower in the nonpituitary group. Within the pituitary group both taste (3.69 vs 2.95, p = 0.03) and smell (3.76 vs 2.61, p ≤ 0.001) were significantly decreased by 6 weeks postoperatively. However, by 12 months both taste and smell scores returned to baseline. Vision scores improved by 3 weeks postoperatively with durable results at 1 year (2.80 vs 3.33, p = 0.04 vs 3.59, p = 0.03, respectively). Within the nonpituitary group, smell was decreased at 3 weeks, but was not significantly changed at any other time points.


Our study indicates a dissociation between the nasal and visual QOL after ESBS. While nasal QOL transiently decreases, visual QOL progressively improves. These data should not be lumped together for the purposes of statistical analysis.