Can imaging suggest the aetiology in skull base osteomyelitis? A systematic literature review

Pol J Radiol. 2021 May 22;86:e309-e321. doi: 10.5114/pjr.2021.106470. eCollection 2021.


PURPOSE: To assess differentiating features between bacterial, Aspergillus, and Mucor skull base osteomyelitis (SBO) with regard to clinical presentation and imaging appearances.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: A literature search was performed in April 2020 for studies on SBO with a minimum sample size of 10 patients. Studies that reported presenting symptoms, cross-sectional imaging findings, complications, and mortality were included in the analysis. The quality of included articles was tested using the Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies 2 tool. A data extraction form was used to retrieve relevant parameters from each of the articles.

RESULTS: Thirteen articles were included in the final analysis. Diabetes mellitus was the most common predisposing factor (12.5-91.0%). Presenting complaints in all bacterial SBO studies were otogenic, while fungal SBO patients had nasal/ocular complaints. Rates of mortality and surgical intervention in the fungal group were 50-100% and 50%, respectively, as compared to the bacterial group – 7-87% and 10%, respectively. On imaging, the site of initial infection in bacterial SBO was the external auditory canal, while in fungal SBO it was the paranasal sinus. The incidence of orbital extension was < 5% in bacterial and 44-70% in fungal SBO, among which Mucor had rates of 65-70%. Bone erosion was less extensive in bacterial SBO, and the patterns differed. The highest incidence of vascular involvement and non-enhancing lesions (23-36%) was seen in Mucor. Aspergillus showed highest sino-cranial extension (52-55%) and homogenous bright enhancement.

CONCLUSIONS: Systematic analysis of the clinico-radiological parameters in each of the studies revealed differences in presentation, clinical course, extension, bone erosion, and enhancement.

PMID:34136049 | PMC:PMC8186306 | DOI:10.5114/pjr.2021.106470

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