Article Text

Download PDFPDF
An unusual complication of epistaxis: cerebral abscess formation after anterior ethmoidal artery ligation
  1. Karin Murer1,
  2. David Holzmann2,
  3. Jan-Karl Burkhardt3,
  4. Michael Benjamin Soyka2
  1. 1Department of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Kantonsspital Luzern, Luzern, Switzerland
  2. 2Department of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, University Hospital Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  3. 3Department of Neurosurgery, University Hospital Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Michael Benjamin Soyka, michael.soyka{at}


Epistaxis is a very common emergency in otorhinolaryngology. Anterior ethmoidal artery ligation using an external approach is one of the surgical options in posterior epistaxis. We present, to the best of our knowledge, the first reported case of an intracerebral abscess after epistaxis treatment with ligation of the anterior ethmoidal artery using an endoscopic-assisted external approach in a 56-year-old patient. The patient presented 4 days postoperatively with an orbital cellulitis. A CT was performed and a frontobasal hypodensity was found. An additional MR tomography the next day showed a lesion suspicious for an intracerebral abscess. Despite intravenous antibiotic therapy, the lesion increased and was successfully treated by the neurosurgeons, with abscess resection over a craniotomy and frontobasal repair using a pedicled periosteal flap. Surgeons have to be aware of this rare but possibly lethal severe complication and should consider early imaging studies, especially if a periorbital cellulitis appears.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.