Purpose: Epistaxis is a commonly presenting complaint. In severe cases, nosebleeds may occur despite antero-posterior nasal packing and often in the absence of identifiable sources of bleeding. In such cases, epistaxis may occur from septal branches of the anterior ethmoidal artery (sbAEA). The purposes of this study are to highlight the clinical role of the sbAEA in different fields of endoscopic endonasal surgery and to evaluate the efficacy and safety of their selective endoscopic endonasal ligation in the management of refractory epistaxis. Methods: A retrospective review was performed of all patients presenting with epistaxis who underwent endoscopic endonasal coagulation of sbAEA in three Italian tertiary-care referral centers between October 2010 and October 2017. Results: A total of 30 patients met the inclusion criteria. Sixteen patients had never experienced nosebleeds before, while 14 patients recalled previous epistaxes. Seventeen patients were treated under local anesthetic, while 13 required general anesthesia. No intra- or post-operative complications were observed and none of the patients received nasal packing after the procedure. In all cases the coagulation was effective in controlling the bleeding, with only two relapses in the series (2/30, 6.7%). Conclusions: The sbAEA are of great interest in endoscopic endonasal surgery, both as surgical landmarks and as feeding vessels for a variety of pedicled nasal flaps. What is more, they can be crucial for the management of refractory epistaxis. Their selective endoscopic coagulation represents an effective and safe procedure in cases of difficult-to-control epistaxis from the upper nasal fossa, with several advantages over nasal packing.
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