Rigid versus flexible neuroendoscopy: A systematic review and meta-analysis of endoscopic third ventriculostomy for the management of pediatric hydrocephalus

Daphne Li, Vijay M. Ravindra, Sandi K. Lam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV), with or without choroid plexus cauterization (±CPC), is a technique used for the treatment of pediatric hydrocephalus. Rigid or flexible neuroendoscopy can be used, but few studies directly compare the two techniques. Here, the authors sought to compare these methods in treating pediatric hydrocephalus. METHODS A systematic MEDLINE search was conducted using combinations of keywords: "flexible," "rigid," "endoscope/ endoscopic," "ETV," and "hydrocephalus." Inclusion criteria were as follows: English-language studies with patients 2 years of age and younger who had undergone ETV±CPC using rigid or flexible endoscopy for hydrocephalus. The primary outcome was ETV success (i.e., without the need for further CSF diversion procedures). Secondary outcomes included ETVrelated and other complications. Statistical significance was determined via independent t-tests and Mood's median tests. RESULTS Forty-eight articles met the study inclusion criteria: 37 involving rigid endoscopy, 10 involving flexible endoscopy, and 1 propensity scored-matched comparison. A cumulative 560 patients had undergone 578 rigid ETV±CPC, and 661 patients had undergone 672 flexible ETV±CPC. The flexible endoscopy cohort had a significantly lower average age at the time of the procedure (0.33 vs 0.53 years, p = 0.001) and a lower preoperatively predicted ETV success score (median 40, IQR 32.5-57.5 vs 62.5, IQR 50-70; p = 0.033). Average ETV success rates in the rigid versus flexible groups were 54.98% and 59.65% (p = 0.63), respectively. ETV-related complication rates did not differ significantly at 0.63% for flexible endoscopy and 3.46% for rigid endoscopy (p = 0.30). There was no significant difference in ETV success or complication rate in comparing ETV, ETV+CPC, and ETV with other concurrent procedures. CONCLUSIONS Despite the lower expected ETV success scores for patients treated with flexible endoscopy, the authors found similar ETV success and complication rates for ETV±CPC with flexible versus rigid endoscopy, as reported in the literature. Further direct comparison between the techniques is necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)439-449
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Endoscopic third ventriculostomy
  • Flexible endoscope
  • Neuroendoscopy
  • Pediatric hydrocephalus
  • Rigid endoscope

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


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