Preservation of olfaction in anterior midline skull base meningiomas: a comprehensive approach

  • Timothy H. Ung
  • Alexander Yang
  • Mohammed Aref
  • Zach Folzenlogen
  • Vijay Ramakrishnan
  • A. Samy YoussefEmail author
Original Article - Brain Tumors
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Brain Tumors



Olfaction is an undervalued sense in neurosurgery. Attempted surgical resection of anterior cranial fossa meningiomas puts the olfactory pathway at risk. Preservation of olfaction may increase the postoperative quality of life. Objective assessment of olfaction may inform clinical decision-making and influence the selection of operative approaches for surgical resection.


We reviewed all patients who underwent surgical resection for midline anterior skull base meningiomas from July 1, 2014, through December 31, 2017. Patient demographics, tumor size, operative approach, pre- and postoperative deficits, and Simpson grade were collected and analyzed. Postoperative olfaction was assessed by clinical evaluation as well as objective evaluation using the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test (UPSIT).


Twenty-eight patients (10 male, 18 female) were included with an average age of 53.8 years (range 27–80 years). Twenty-six patients underwent craniotomy for resection, while 2 patients had endoscopic approaches. Average tumor volume was 402.1 cm3 (6.6–2507.7 cm3). Preoperatively, five patients (17.8%) presented with olfactory impairment. Objectively, 50% of patients (14/28) consented and completed the UPSIT. The average postoperative UPSIT score was 25.8/40 (9/40–38/40). Two patients not identified on clinical assessment alone demonstrated postoperative olfactory deficit on UPSIT (2/14).


There are limited published studies evaluating olfaction in patients who undergo skull-based approaches for anterior fossa meningiomas. Our series showed the highest olfaction preservation rate (87.5%) using a comprehensive strategy and multitude of surgical approaches based on the olfactory function and tumor characteristics.


Anterior skull base Meningioma Meningiomas Olfaction preservation Olfactory groove Tuberculum sella Endoscopic Transnasal 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

IRB approval


Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee (name of institute/committee) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. For this type of study formal consent is not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timothy H. Ung
    • 1
  • Alexander Yang
    • 1
  • Mohammed Aref
    • 1
  • Zach Folzenlogen
    • 1
  • Vijay Ramakrishnan
    • 1
    • 2
  • A. Samy Youssef
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Neurological Surgery, School of MedicineUniversity of ColoradoAuroraUSA
  2. 2.Department of Otolaryngology, School of MedicineUniversity of ColoradoAuroraUSA

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