a1 The Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital, Gray's Inn Road, London, UK.
Seventy-two patients with juvenile angiofibroma have been investigated by computerized tomography (CT) and/or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) over a period of 20 years. The evidence from these studies indicates that angiofibroma takes origin in the pterygo-palatine fossa at the aperture of the pterygoid (vidian) canal. An important extension of the tumour is posteriorly along the pterygoid canal with invasion of the cancellous bone of the pterygoid base, and greater wing of the sphenoid (60 per cent of patients). Distinctive features of angiofibroma are the high recurrence rate, and the rapidity with which many tumours recur. It is postulated that the principle determinant of recurrence is a high tumour growth rate at the time of surgery coupled with incomplete surgical excision. The inability to remove the tumour in toto is principally due to deep invasion of the sphenoid, as described above. In this series 93 per cent of recurrences occurred withthis type of tumour extension. A contributory cause in these patients is the use of pre-operative embolization. The treatment implications of these findings are examined.
(Accepted November 16 1998)
c1 Address for correspondence: Dr Glyn Lloyd, 107 Harley Street, London W1N 7DG.