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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 171

Sternberg's canal as a cause of encephalocele within the lateral recess of the sphenoid sinus: A report of two cases

Department of Neurosurgery, Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina

Correspondence Address:
Damián C Bendersky
Department of Neurosurgery, Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires
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DOI: 10.4103/2152-7806.90034

PMID: 22145089

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Background : Intrasphenoidal encephaloceles are extremely rare findings. Sternberg's canal is a lateral craniopharyngeal canal resulting from incomplete fusion of the greater wings of the sphenoid bone with the basisphenoid. It acts as a weak spot of the skull base, which may lead to develop a temporal lobe encephalocele protruding into the lateral recess of the sphenoid sinus (SS). Case Description : We present two cases of intrasphenoidal encephalocele due to persistence of the lateral craniopharyngeal canal. The first case presented with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) rhinorrhea and the second one was referred to the neurosurgical department with CSF rhinorrhea and meningitis. Radiological investigations consisted of computed tomography (CT) scan, CT cisternography and magnetic resonance images in both cases. These imaging studies identified a herniated temporal lobe through a bony defect which communicates the middle cranial fossa with the lateral recess of the SS. Both patients underwent a transcranial repair of the encephalocele because of the previous failure of the endoscopic surgery. There was no complication related to the surgical procedure and no recurrence of CSF leakage occurred 2 and 3 years after surgery, respectively. Conclusion : Encephalocele within the lateral recess of the SS is a rare entity which must be suspected in patients who present with spontaneous CSF rhinorrhea. Congenital intrasphenoidal encephaloceles, which are located medial to the foramen rotundum, seem to be due to persistence of the Sternberg's canal. Transcranial approach is a good option when a transnasal approach had failed previously.



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