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Gabriel Zada, Henry W. S. Schroeder, Andrew S. Little and Edward R. Laws Jr.

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David J. Cote, Sherry L. Iuliano, Michael P. Catalino and Edward R. Laws Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Perioperative management of patients with sellar lesions is complex, requiring input from a multidisciplinary team of specialists for ongoing management of both endocrinological and neurosurgical issues. Here, the authors reviewed the experience of a single multidisciplinary center over 10 years to identify key postoperative practices that ensure positive outcomes for patients with sellar lesions who undergo transsphenoidal surgery.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of all transsphenoidal operations carried out by the senior author at a single center from April 2008 through November 2018. They included only adult patients and recorded perioperative management. They also reviewed the evolution of clinical practices for perioperative care at their institution to identify strategies for ensuring positive patient outcomes, and they reviewed the literature on select related topics.

RESULTS

In total, 1023 operations in 928 patients were reviewed. Of these, 712 operations were for pituitary adenomas (69.6%), and 122 were for Rathke cleft cysts (11.9%). The remainder included operations for craniopharyngiomas (3.6%), arachnoid cysts (1.7%), pituitary tumor apoplexy (1.0%), and other sellar pathologies (12.2%). Among the reviewed operations, the median hospital stay was 3 days (IQR 2–3). Patient management details during the pre-, intra-, and postoperative periods were identified, including both shared characteristics of all patients undergoing transsphenoidal surgery and unique characteristics that are specific to certain lesion types or patient populations.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with sellar lesions who undergo transsphenoidal surgery require complex, multidisciplinary perioperative care to monitor for common adverse events and to improve outcomes, but there is a dearth of high-quality evidence guiding most perioperative practices. Here, the authors reviewed practices at their institution across more than 1000 transsphenoidal operations that may help ensure successful patient outcomes.

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Michael P. Catalino and Edward R. Laws Jr.

Harvey Cushing overcame tremendous obstacles to his personal and professional development from 1912 to 1919. These trials could have jeopardized the early and necessary formation of the Society of Neurological Surgeons in 1920. War separated young neurosurgeons pursuing the advancement of this “special field,” but Cushing’s principled mentoring of these aspiring surgeons in the midst of this demanding time was unwavering. This historical vignette is a collection of stories composed to highlight certain trainees during this period in his career. It also puts the mentoring relationship into a context that is often encountered today. There is much to learn from those who endure trials of any kind, but there is much more to learn from those, like Cushing, who inspire perseverance in others during their trials.

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Michael P. Catalino, Shun Yao, Deborah L. Green, Edward R. Laws Jr., Alexandra J. Golby and Yanmei Tie

Neurosurgery has been at the forefront of a paradigm shift from a localizationist perspective to a network-based approach to brain mapping. Over the last 2 decades, we have seen dramatic improvements in the way we can image the human brain and noninvasively estimate the location of critical functional networks. In certain patients with brain tumors and epilepsy, intraoperative electrical stimulation has revealed direct links between these networks and their function. The focus of these techniques has rightfully been identification and preservation of so-called “eloquent” brain functions (i.e., motor and language), but there is building momentum for more extensive mapping of cognitive and emotional networks. In addition, there is growing interest in mapping these functions in patients with a broad range of neurosurgical diseases. Resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) is a noninvasive imaging modality that is able to measure spontaneous low-frequency blood oxygen level–dependent signal fluctuations at rest to infer neuronal activity. Rs-fMRI may be able to map cognitive and emotional networks for individual patients. In this review, the authors give an overview of the rs-fMRI technique and associated cognitive and emotional resting-state networks, discuss the potential applications of rs-fMRI, and propose future directions for the mapping of cognition and emotion in neurosurgical patients.

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Constantin Tuleasca, Michaela Dedeciusova, Laura Negretti, Roy Thomas Daniel and Marc Levivier

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Tomasz Szmuda, Shan Ali and Paweł Słoniewski

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William T. Burke, David L. Penn, Joseph P. Castlen, Daniel A. Donoho, Caroline S. Repetti, Sherry Iuliano, Garni Barkhoudarian and Edward R. Laws Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Prolactinoma and nonfunctioning adenoma (NFA) are the most common sellar pathologies, and both can present with hyperprolactinemia. There are no definitive studies analyzing the relationship between the sizes of prolactinomas and NFAs and the serum prolactin level. Current guidelines for serum prolactin level cutoffs to distinguish between pathologies are suboptimal because they fail to consider the adenoma volume. In this study, the authors attempted to describe the relationship between serum prolactin level and prolactinoma volume. They also examined the predictive value that can be gained by considering tumor volume in differentiating prolactinoma from NFA and provide cutoff values based on a large sample of patients.

METHODS

A retrospective analysis of consecutive patients with prolactinomas (n = 76) and NFAs (n = 217) was performed. Patients were divided into groups based on adenoma volume, and the two pathologies were compared.

RESULTS

A strong correlation was found between prolactinoma volume and serum prolactin level (r = 0.831, p < 0.001). However, there was no significant correlation between NFA volume and serum prolactin level (r = −0.020, p = 0.773). Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis of three different adenoma volume groups was performed and resulted in different serum prolactin level cutoffs for each group. For group 1 (≤ 0.5 cm3), the most accurate cutoff was 43.65 μg/L (area under the curve [AUC] = 0.951); for group 2 (> 0.5 to 4 cm3), 60.05 μg/L (AUC = 0.949); and for group 3 (> 4 cm3), 248.15 μg/L (AUC = 1.0).

CONCLUSIONS

Prolactinoma volume has a significant impact on serum prolactin level, whereas NFA volume does not. This finding indicates that the amount of prolactin-producing tissue is a more important factor regarding serum prolactin level than absolute adenoma volume. Hence, volume should be a determining factor to distinguish between prolactinoma and NFA prior to surgery. Current serum prolactin threshold level guidelines are suboptimal and cannot be generalized across all adenoma volumes.

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Ossama Al-Mefty, Edward R. Laws and A. John Popp

As it does periodically, the United States healthcare system is, yet again, undergoing a period of change on multiple fronts, including internal initiatives in education, quality, and the workforce, as well as external pressure responding to changes in reimbursement and oversight. In such times, looking back at the foundations of our specialty is helpful, allowing often-beleaguered neurosurgeons to reflect upon what it means to be a neurosurgeon, and how they can be assured that our specialty will continue to flourish in the future. Harvey Cushing envisioned, espoused, and developed neurological surgery as a “special field”—a comprehensive, encompassing, and distinct discipline that studies the nervous system and manages neurological disorders. It provides surgical intervention for the treatment of neurological disorders; it by no means was meant to be developed as a mere technical or procedural skill; it is neither a subspecialty of surgery nor a branch of neurology; it is a “special field” that has flourished to become a crown jewel in the realm of medicine. Herein is a perspective that brings the inception and future of this concept to light. A specialty that is to live and flourish should stand on and recognize its roots.

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Maya Harary, Aislyn C. DiRisio, Hassan Y. Dawood, John Kim, Nayan Lamba, Charles H. Cho, Timothy R. Smith, Hasan A. Zaidi and Edward R. Laws Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Loss of pituitary function due to nonfunctional pituitary adenoma (NFPA) may be due to compression of the pituitary gland. It has been proposed that the size of the gland and relative perioperative gland expansion may relate to recovery of pituitary function, but the extent of this is unclear. This study aims to assess temporal changes in hormonal function after transsphenoidal resection of NFPA and the relationship between gland reexpansion and endocrine recovery.

METHODS

Patients who underwent endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery by a single surgeon for resection of a nonfunctional macroadenoma were selected for inclusion. Patients with prior pituitary surgery or radiosurgery were excluded. Patient characteristics and endocrine function were extracted by chart review. Volumetric segmentation of the pre- and postoperative (≥ 6 months) pituitary gland was performed using preoperative and long-term postoperative MR images. The relationship between endocrine function over time and clinical attributes, including gland volume, were examined.

RESULTS

One hundred sixty eligible patients were identified, of whom 47.5% were female; 56.9% of patients had anterior pituitary hormone deficits preoperatively. The median tumor diameter and gland volume preoperatively were 22.5 mm (interquartile range [IQR] 18.0–28.8 mm) and 0.18 cm3 (IQR 0.13–0.28 cm3), respectively. In 55% of patients, endocrine function normalized or improved in their affected axes by median last clinical follow-up of 24.4 months (IQR 3.2–51.2 months). Older age, male sex, and larger tumor size were associated with likelihood of endocrine recovery. Median time to recovery of any axis was 12.2 months (IQR 2.5–23.9 months); hypothyroidism was the slowest axis to recover. Although the gland significantly reexpanded from preoperatively (0.18 cm3, IQR 0.13–0.28 cm3) to postoperatively (0.33 cm3, IQR 0.23–0.48 cm3; p < 0.001), there was no consistent association with improved endocrine function.

CONCLUSIONS

Recovery of endocrine function can occur several months and even years after surgery, with more than 50% of patients showing improved or normalized function. Tumor size, and not gland volume, was associated with preserved or recovered endocrine function.