Temporal Bone Meningo-Encephalic-Herniation: Etiological Categorization and Surgical Strategy

Temporal Bone Meningo-Encephalic-Herniation: Etiological Categorization and Surgical Strategy

Golda Grinblat, Manjunath Dandinarasaiah, Sampath Chandra Prasad, Gianluca Piras, Enrico Piccirillo, Andrea Fulcheri, and Mario Sanna


To study the clinical presentation, intraoperative findings and surgical management in meningo-encephalic-herniation (MEH) based on the etiology.

A retrospective clinical study and is a follow-up on the previously published report in 2009.

A quaternary referral otology and skull base center.

The inclusion criteria were intraoperatively verified MEH in patients with a minimum follow-up of 12 months, which yielded 262 operated ears. The data were extracted regarding demographics, laterality, clinical presentation, past surgeries, contralateral-ear condition, intraoperative findings, complications, recurrences, revision-surgeries, audiometric-data, and follow-up

The mean age at surgery was 49.7 years with the involvement of right-ear in 53.8% of patients. Lesions were categorized based on the etiology as chronic-otitis-media with/without cholesteatoma-MEH (COM/CHOL-MEH) -47.7%, iatrogenic-MEHs -20.9%; traumatic-MEHs -8% and spontaneous-MEHs -23.3%. At presentation, hearing loss (100 and 98.2%) and otorrhea (65.6 and 49.1%) were predominant in COM/CHOL-MEHs and iatrogenic-MEHs, respectively. On the other hand, meningitis (23.9 and 14.3%) and cerebrospinal fluid-leak (52.4 and 42.8%) were more pronounced in spontaneous and traumatic MEHs, respectively. Surgical approaches included 1) transmastoid, 2) middle-cranial-fossa-approach, 3) combined, and 4) middle-ear-obliteration (MEO) techniques. A total of 52.8% of COM/CHOL-MEHs and 49.1% of iatrogenic-MEHs underwent MEO. Middle-cranial-fossa approach was predominantly used in spontaneous-MEHs (52.5%) and traumatic-MEHs (38.1%). The defect was mostly single (75.2%). Smaller, multiple, bilateral lesions were more common in spontaneous-MEHs with tegmen-tympani involvement (57.4%).

Incorporating etiology into MEHs is a key-step that can be used as a guidance in choosing the right surgery. MEO is a part of armamentarium, and should be used whenever needed, if the objective is performing a definitive surgery.