PURPOSE OF REVIEW - To discuss the current applications and indications for the use of pedicled flaps in the reconstruction of endoscopic skull base defects.
RECENT FINDINGS - Current trends in endoscopic skull base surgery include the use of vascularized pedicled flaps rather than free tissue grafts (autograft or allograft) for the repair of anterior cranial base defects. In particular, recent evidence-based algorithms for skull base reconstruction suggest that use of pedicled flaps for clival defects and high-flow cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks may reduce the incidence of postoperative CSF leaks. The primary workhorse continues to be the nasoseptal flap (NSF); however, other options exist in cases wherein this flap is unavailable because of prior sacrifice or unable to reach the area of interest (e.g., defects adjacent to the frontal recess).
SUMMARY - Adoption of vascularized pedicled flaps over the last decade, particularly the recently popularized NSF, has greatly reduced complications associated with endoscopic skull base surgery. The need for vascularized flap reconstruction is governed primarily by defect size and location, and by the presence of a high-flow CSF leak. Additional vascularized flaps can be used in conjunction with the NSF, or as an alternative when the NSF is unfavorable or unavailable.