Endoscopic approaches to pituitary tumors have become an effective alternative to traditional microscopic transsphenoidal approaches. Despite a proven potential to decrease unexpected residual tumor, intraoperative MR (iMR) imaging is infrequently used even in the few operating environments in which such technology is available. Its use is prohibitive because of its cost, increased complexity, and longer operative times. The authors assessed the potential of intrasellar endoscopy to replace the need for iMR imaging without sacrificing the maximum extent of resection.
In this retrospective study, 27 consecutive patients underwent fully endoscopic resection of pituitary macroadenomas. Intrasellar endoscopy was used to determine the presence of residual tumor within the sella turcica and tumor cavity. Intraoperative MR imaging was used to identify rates of unexpected residual tumor and the need for further tumor resection.
Intraoperative estimates of the extent of tumor resection were correct in 23 patients (85%). Of 4 patients with unacceptable tumor residuals, 3 underwent further tumor resection. After iMR imaging, the rate of successful completion of the planned extent of resection increased to 26 patients (96%). Rates of both endocrinopathy reversal and postoperative complications were consistent with previously published results for microscopic and endoscopic resection techniques.
The findings in this study provided quantitative evidence that intrasellar endoscopy has significant promise for maximizing the extent of tumor resection and is a useful adjunct to surgical approaches to pituitary tumors, particularly when iMR imaging is unavailable. A larger prospective study on the extent of resection following endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery would strengthen these findings.
Abbreviations used in this paper: FOV = field of view; GTR = gross-total resection; iMR = intraoperative MR; STR = subtotal resection.
Address correspondence to: Philip V. Theodosopoulos, M.D., c/o Editorial Office, University of Cincinnati, Department of Neurosurgery, P.O. Box 0515, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45267-0515. email:
Please include this information when citing this paper: published online October 16, 2009; DOI: 10.3171/2009.6.JNS08916.
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