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Tension pneumocephalus after endoscopic sinus surgery: Case report of repair and management in absence of obvious skull base defect

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February 1, 2008
by Robert G. Whitmore, BA, Gabrielle Bonhomme, MD, Laura J. Balcer, MD, MSCE, and James N. Palmer, MD


Tension pneumocephalus is a rare complication of functional endoscopic sinus surgery that may lead to rapid neurologic deterioration. Patients typically display symptoms within hours after the operation, and computed tomography reveals the presence of a skull base defect. We report a unique case of subacute tension pneumocephalus with no obvious skull base defect, which was associated with a pupil-involving third-nerve palsy. We discuss management of this complication and preventive measures for avoiding pneumocephalus after functional endoscopic sinus surgery.

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