Impact of Routine Endoscopic Skull Base Surgery on Subjective Olfaction and Gustation Outcomes

Nanki Hura, Cinthia P. Orlov, Adham M. Khalafallah, Debraj Mukherjee, Nicholas R. Rowan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: As endoscopic endonasal skull base surgery (EESBS) for sellar pathology has become routine, there is increasing awareness of quality-of-life (QOL) outcomes related to this approach. Similarly, there is a growing interest in postoperative chemosensory function, with notable emphasis on olfaction and the corresponding psychosocial implications of olfactory dysfunction. Meanwhile, there has been minimal direct investigation into gustatory outcomes, and the association between these 2 chemosensory functions remains poorly understood. OBJECTIVE: To investigate patient-reported chemosensory function and rhinologic-specific QOL following EESBS for routine sellar pathologies. METHODS: Comprehensive clinical characteristics and sinonasal QOL assessments, measured using Anterior Skull Base Nasal Inventory-12 (ASK Nasal-12), were collected from 46 patients undergoing EESBS for sellar pathology. RESULTS: Forty-six patients were included: 65.2% female, average age 52.8 yr (range: 27-89). The most common pathology was nonfunctioning pituitary adenoma (n = 28). Preoperative ASK Nasal-12 scores (mean = 0.81) demonstrated postoperative worsening at 2 wk (mean = 2.52, P <. 0001) and 1 mo (mean = 1.33, P =. 0031), with no difference at 3 mo postoperatively (mean = 0.89, P =. 92). Meanwhile, there was significant worsening of preoperative subjective smell (mean = 0.62) and taste function (mean = 0.42) at 2 wk (mean = 3.48, P <. 0001; mean = 2.69, P <. 0001) and 1 mo (mean = 2.40, P <. 0001; mean = 2.03, P <. 0001) postoperatively, which persisted at approximately 3 mo postoperatively (mean = 1.26, P =. 04; mean = 1.15, P =. 0059). CONCLUSION: Patients undergoing EESBS for sellar pathologies experience anticipated, temporary disruptions in sinonasal QOL but may have longer lasting perturbations in subjective olfaction and gustation. Given the increasing use of the endoscopic endonasal corridor, further investigation in postoperative chemosensory function is essential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-142
Number of pages6
JournalOperative Neurosurgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021


  • Endoscopy
  • Gustation
  • Olfaction
  • Olfaction disorders
  • Pituitary diseases
  • Prospective studies
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


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