Classification of middle fossa floor dehiscence syndromes

Kunal Gupta, Hatem A. Sabry, Aclan Dogan, Nicholas D. Coppa, Sean McMenomey, Johnny B. Delashaw, Ahmed M. Raslan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Object Middle fossa floor dehiscence (MFFD) can present as multiple syndromes depending on dehiscence location, tissue herniation, and dural integrity. The authors propose a classification system for MFFD with the potential to guide clinical decision making. Methods A retrospective analysis of the electronic medical records (years 1995-2012) of patients who had undergone temporal craniotomy for the surgical repair of an MFFD syndrome at a single institution was undertaken. Reviewed data included demographic, operative, presentation, and outcome details. Middle fossa floor dehiscence was classified as follows: Class A, bony dehiscence without herniation of the brain and/or meninges; Class B, herniation of the brain and/or meninges through the middle fossa floor without CSF leakage; Class C, dehiscence with CSF leakage without meningitis; or Class D, dehiscence with meningitis. Results Fifty-one patients, 22 males and 29 females, were included in the analysis. The mean age was 48.7 ± 15.5 years, mean body mass index was 32.65 ± 6.86 kg/m2, and mean symptom duration was 33 ± 42 months. Seven patients underwent repeat surgery for symptomatic recurrence; therefore, there were 58 surgical encounters. Repair included bony reconstruction with hydroxyapatite with or without resection of encephaloceles and/or repair of a dural defect. According to the MFFD classification system described, 15, 8, 27, and 8 cases were categorized as Class A, B, C, and D, respectively. The prevalence of hearing loss was 87%, 63%, and 70% in Classes A, B, and C, respectively. Vestibular symptoms were more prevalent in Class A. Seven patients reported persistent symptoms at the last follow-up. Transient complications were similar in each classification (13%-25%), and a single permanent complication related to anesthesia was observed. There were no mortalities or severe neurological morbidities in the series. Conclusions Middle fossa floor dehiscence has a spectrum of clinical presentations. A classification system may help to clarify the diagnosis and guide therapy. Surgery, the mainstay of treatment, is safe and well tolerated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)557-563
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2015


  • Middle fossa floor dehiscence
  • Surgical outcomes
  • Surgical stratification
  • Surgical technique
  • Tullio's phenomenon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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