Development of a disease-specific quality-of-life questionnaire for anterior and central skull base pathology—The skull base inventory


  • Presented at the 21st Annual North American Skull Base Society Meeting, Scottsdale, Arizona, U.S.A., February 21, 2011.

  • This work was funded by a grant from the Physicians Services Incorporated (PSI) and in part by an educational grant from the Latner Family in conjunction with Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Canada. The authors have no other funding, financial relationships, or conflicts of interest to disclose.



Anterior and central skull base lesions and their surgical treatment (endoscopic or open approaches) can affect quality of life. A disease-specific instrument is needed to compare quality of life for different surgical approaches.

Study Design:

Items were generated using a composite strategy consisting of chart review, systematic review of skull base instruments, expert interviews, and qualitative analysis of patient focus groups. A cross-sectional survey study was performed to reduce items based on an item impact score.


Charts of 138 patients who underwent skull base surgery were reviewed to identify physical items and domains. Five experts were interviewed for item and domain identification. Thirty-four patients were recruited into eight focus groups based on their surgical approach (open or endoscopic) and tumor location (anterior or central). Items were generated using a composite approach and then reduced into a final questionnaire using item impact scores.


Chart review identified 47 physical items. Systematic review revealed nine relevant instruments with 217 relevant items. Experts identified 11 domains with 69 additional items. Qualitative analysis of focus groups generated 49 items. A total of 382 items were identified and reduced to 77 items after eliminating overlapping and irrelevant items. Further item reduction using item impact scores yielded 41 items.


The Skull Base Inventory is a disease-specific quality-of-life instrument. Psychometric properties have yet to be tested. It may serve to compare quality of life for endoscopic or open procedures. Laryngoscope, 2012