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Yuval Grober, Hagit Grober, Max Wintermark, John A. Jane Jr. and Edward H. Oldfield

OBJECTIVE

Many centers use conventional and dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI (DMRI) sequences in patients with Cushing's disease. The authors assessed the utility of the 3D volumetric interpolated breath-hold examination, a spoiled-gradient echo 3D T1 sequence (SGE) characterized by superior soft tissue contrast and improved resolution, compared with DMRI and conventional MRI (CMRI) for detecting microadenomas in patients with Cushing's disease.

METHODS

This study was a blinded assessment of pituitary MRI in patients with proven Cushing's disease. Fifty-seven patients who had undergone surgery for Cushing's disease (10 male, 47 female; age range 13–69 years), whose surgical findings were considered to represent a microadenoma, and who had been examined with all 3 imaging techniques were included. Thus, selection emphasized patients with prior negative or equivocal MRI on referral. The MRI annotations were anonymized and 4 separate imaging sets were independently read by 3 blinded, experienced clinicians: a neuroradiologist and 2 pituitary surgeons.

RESULTS

Forty-eight surgical specimens contained an adenoma (46 ACTH-staining adenomas, 1 prolactinoma, and 1 nonfunctioning microadenoma). DMRI detected 5 adenomas that were not evident on CMRI, SGE detected 8 adenomas not evident on CMRI, including 3 that were not evident on DMRI. One adenoma was detected on DMRI that was not detected on SGE. McNemar's test for efficacy between the different MRI sets for tumor detection showed that the addition of SGE to CMRI increased the number of tumors detected from 18 to 26 (p = 0.02) based on agreement of at least 2 of 3 readers.

CONCLUSIONS

SGE shows higher sensitivity than DMRI for detecting and localizing pituitary microadenomas, although rarely an adenoma is detected exclusively by DMRI. SGE should be part of the standard MRI protocol for patients with Cushing's disease.

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Davis G. Taylor, John A. Jane Jr. and Edward H. Oldfield

OBJECTIVE

Extracapsular resection of pituitary microadenomas improves remission rates, but the application of pseudocapsular techniques for macroadenomas has not been well described. In larger tumors, the extremely thin, compressed normal gland or its complete absence along the tumor’s anterior surface limits the application of the traditional pseudocapsular technique that can be used for microadenomas. However, in the authors’ experience, the interface between the pseudocapsule at the posterior margin of the adenoma and the compressed normal gland behind it is universally present, providing a surgical dissection plane. In mid-2010, the authors began using a new surgical technique to identify and use this interface for the resection of larger macroadenomas, a technique that can be used with the microscope or the endoscope.

METHODS

The authors performed a cohort study using prospectively collected preoperative imaging reports and operative details and retrospectively reviewed postoperative images and clinical follow-up of patients with a pituitary macroadenoma 20–40 mm in maximum diameter undergoing microscopic transsphenoidal resection. Since dissection of the tumor capsule only pertains to encapsulated tumor within the sella and not to tumor invading the cavernous sinus, assessment of tumor removal of noninvasive tumors emphasized the entire tumor, while that of invasive tumors emphasized the intrasellar component only. The incidence of residual tumor on postoperative imaging, new-onset endocrinopathy, and recovery of preoperative pituitary deficits was compared between patients who underwent surgery before (Group A) and after (Group B) implementation of the new technique.

RESULTS

There were 34 consecutive patients in Group A and 74 consecutive patients in Group B. Tumors in 18 (53%) Group A and 40 (54%) Group B patients had no evidence of cavernous sinus invasion on MRI. Use of the posterior pseudocapsule technique reduced the incidence of intrasellar residual tumor on postoperative MRI for tumors without cavernous sinus invasion (39% [Group A] vs 10%, p < 0.05) and in all tumors regardless of invasion (50% vs 18%, p < 0.005). The incidence of new endocrinopathy was less likely (25% vs 12%, p = 0.098) and the recovery of prior deficits more likely (13% vs 27%, p = 0.199) among patients treated using the pseudocapsule approach, although the differences are not statistically significant.

CONCLUSIONS

Use of the posterior pseudocapsule dissection plane can enhance the resection of pituitary macroadenomas.

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Russell R. Lonser, Lynnette Nieman and Edward H. Oldfield

Cushing's disease (CD) is the result of excess secretion of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) by a benign monoclonal pituitary adenoma. The excessive secretion of ACTH stimulates secretion of cortisol by the adrenal glands, resulting in supraphysiological levels of circulating cortisol. The pathophysiological levels of cortisol are associated with hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and early death. Successful resection of the CD-associated ACTH-secreting pituitary adenoma is the treatment of choice and results in immediate biochemical remission with preservation of pituitary function. Accurate and early identification of CD is critical for effective surgical management and optimal prognosis. The authors review the current pathophysiological principles, diagnostic methods, and management of CD.

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Prashant Chittiboina, S. Lalith Talagala, Hellmut Merkle, Joelle E. Sarlls, Blake K. Montgomery, Martin G. Piazza, Gretchen Scott, Abhik Ray-Chaudhury, Russell R. Lonser, Edward H. Oldfield, Alan P. Koretsky and John A. Butman

OBJECTIVE

Pituitary MR imaging fails to detect over 50% of microadenomas in Cushing's disease and nearly 80% of cases of dural microinvasion. Surface coils can generate exceptionally high-resolution images of the immediately adjacent tissues. To improve imaging of the pituitary gland, a receive-only surface coil that can be placed within the sphenoid sinus (the endosphenoidal coil [ESC]) during transsphenoidal surgery (TSS) was developed and assessed.

METHODS

Five cadaver heads were used for preclinical testing of the ESC. The ESC (a double-turn, 12-mm-diameter surface coil made from 1-mm-diameter copper wire) was developed to obtain images in a 1.5-T MR scanner. The ESC was placed (via a standard sublabial TSS approach) on the anterior sella face. Clinical MR scans were obtained using the 8-channel head coil and ESC as the receiver coils. Using the ESC, ultra–high-resolution, 3D, balanced fast field echo (BFFE) and T1-weighted imaging were performed at resolutions of 0.25 × 0.25 × 0.50 mm3 and 0.15 × 0.15 × 0.30 mm3, respectively.

RESULTS

Region-of-interest analysis indicated a 10-fold increase in the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of the pituitary when using the ESC compared with the 8-channel head coil. ESC-related improvements (p < 0.01) in the SNR were inversely proportional to the distance from the ESC tip to the anterior pituitary gland surface. High-resolution BFFE MR imaging obtained using ESC revealed a number of anatomical features critical to pituitary surgery that were not visible on 8-channel MR imaging, including the pituitary capsule, the intercavernous sinus, and microcalcifications in the pars intermedia. These ESC imaging findings were confirmed by the pathological correlation with whole-mount pituitary sections.

CONCLUSIONS

ESC can significantly improve SNR in the sellar region intraoperatively using current 1.5-T MR imaging platforms. Improvement in SNR can provide images of the sella and surrounding structures with unprecedented resolution. Clinical use of this ESC may allow for MR imaging detection of previously occult pituitary adenomas and identify microscopic invasion of the dura or cavernous sinus.

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Edward H. Oldfield, John A. Jane Jr., Michael O. Thorner, Carrie L. Pledger, Jason P. Sheehan and Mary Lee Vance

OBJECTIVE

The relationship between growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor–1 (IGF-1) in patients with acromegaly as serial levels drop over time after treatment has not been examined previously. Knowledge of this relationship is important to correlate pretreatment levels that best predict response to treatment. To examine the correlation between GH and IGF-1 and IGF-1 z-scores over a wide range of GH levels, the authors examined serial GH and IGF-1 levels at intervals before and after surgery and radiosurgery for acromegaly.

METHODS

This retrospective analysis correlates 414 pairs of GH and IGF-1 values in 93 patients with acromegaly.

RESULTS

Absolute IGF-1 levels increase linearly with GH levels only up to a GH of 4 ng/ml, and with IGF-1 z-scores only to a GH level of 1 ng/ml. Between GH levels of 1 and 10 ng/ml, increases in IGF-1 z-scores relative to changes in GH diminish and then plateau at GH concentrations of about 10 ng/ml. From patient to patient there is a wide range of threshold GH levels beyond which IGF-1 increases are no longer linear, GH levels at which the IGF-1 response plateaus, IGF-1 levels at similar GH values after the IGF-1 response plateaus, and of IGF-1 levels at similar GH levels.

CONCLUSIONS

In acromegaly, although IGF-1 levels represent a combination of the integrated effects of GH secretion and GH action, the tumor produces GH, not IGF-1. Nonlinearity between GH and IGF-1 occurs at GH levels far below those previously recognized. To monitor tumor activity and tumor viability requires measurement of GH levels.

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Houssein A. Darwish and Edward H. Oldfield

This report describes the circumstances of a patient with a cauda equina syndrome due to the development of a lumbar subdural CSF collection with ventral displacement of the cauda equina shortly following posterior fossa decompression for Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I). This unusual, but clinically significant, complication was successfully treated with percutaneous drainage of the extraarachnoid CSF collection. Although there are a few cases of intracranial subdural hygroma developing after surgery for CM-I, often attributed to a pinhole opening in the arachnoid, as far as the authors can determine, a spinal subdural hygroma associated with surgery for CM-I has not been recognized.

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Davis G. Taylor, Panagiotis Mastorakos, John A. Jane Jr. and Edward H. Oldfield

OBJECTIVE

A subset of patients with Chiari I malformation demonstrate patent subarachnoid spaces around the cerebellum, indicating that reduced posterior fossa volume alone does not account for tonsillar descent. The authors distinguish two subsets of Chiari I malformation patients based on the degree of “posterior fossa crowdedness” on MRI.

METHODS

Two of the coauthors independently reviewed the preoperative MR images of 49 patients with Chiari I malformation and categorized the posterior fossa as “spacious” or “crowded.” Volumetric analysis of posterior fossa structures was then performed using open-source DICOM software. The preoperative clinical and imaging features of the two groups were compared.

RESULTS

The posterior fossae of 25 patients were classified as spacious and 20 as crowded by both readers; 4 were incongruent. The volumes of the posterior fossa compartment, posterior fossa tissue, and hindbrain (posterior fossa tissue including herniated tonsils) were statistically similar between the patients with spacious and crowed subtypes (p = 0.33, p = 0.17, p = 0.20, respectively). However, patients in the spacious and crowded subtypes demonstrated significant differences in the ratios of posterior fossa tissue to compartment volumes as well as hindbrain to compartment volumes (p = 0.001 and p = 0.0004, respectively). The average age at surgery was 29.2 ± 19.3 years (mean ± SD) and 21.9 ± 14.9 years for spacious and crowded subtypes, respectively (p = 0.08). Syringomyelia was more prevalent in the crowded subtype (50% vs 28%, p = 0.11).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors' study identifies two subtypes of Chiari I malformation, crowded and spacious, that can be distinguished by MRI appearance without volumetric analysis. Earlier age at surgery and presence of syringomyelia are more common in the crowded subtype. The presence of the spacious subtype suggests that crowdedness alone cannot explain the pathogenesis of Chiari I malformation in many patients, supporting the need for further investigation.

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Andrew S. Little, Daniel F. Kelly and Garni Barkhoudarian

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Carrie L. Pledger, Mohamed A. Elzoghby, Edward H. Oldfield, Spencer C. Payne and John A. Jane Jr.

OBJECT

Both endoscopic and microscopic transsphenoidal approaches are accepted techniques for the resection of pituitary adenomas. Although studies have explored patient outcomes for each technique individually, none have prospectively compared sinonasal and quality of life outcomes in a concurrent series of patients at the same institution, as has been done in the present study.

METHODS

Patients with nonfunctioning adenomas undergoing transsphenoidal surgery were assessed for sinonasal function, quality of life, and pain using the Sino-Nasal Outcome Test-20 (SNOT-20), the short form of the Nasal Obstruction Symptom Evaluation (NOSE) instrument, the SF-36, and a headache scale. Eighty-two patients undergoing either endoscopic (47 patients) or microscopic (35 patients) surgery were surveyed preoperatively and at 24–48 hours, 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 8 weeks, and 1 year after surgery.

RESULTS

Patients who underwent endoscopic and microscopic transsphenoidal surgery experienced a similar recovery pattern, showing an initial increase in symptoms during the first 2 weeks, followed by a return to baseline by 4 weeks and improvement beyond baseline functioning by 8 weeks. Patients who underwent endoscopic surgery experienced better sinonasal outcomes at 24–48 hours (SNOT total p = 0.015, SNOT rhinologic subscale [ssRhino] p < 0.001), 2 weeks (NOSE p = 0.013), and 8 weeks (SNOT total p = 0.032 and SNOT ssRhino p = 0.035). By 1 year after surgery, no significant differences in sinonasal outcomes were observed between the 2 groups. Headache scales at 1 year improved in all dimensions except duration for both groups (total result 73%, p = 0.004; severity 46%, p < 0.001; frequency 53%, p < 0.001), with 80% of either microscopic or endoscopic patients experiencing improvement or resolution of headache symptoms. Endoscopic and microscopic patients experienced reduced vitality preoperatively compared with US population norms and remained low postoperatively. By 8 weeks after surgery, both groups experienced significant improvements in mental health (13%, p = 0.005) and vitality (15%, p = 0.037). By 1 year after surgery, patients improved significantly in mental health (14%, p = 0.03), role physical (14%, p = 0.036), social functioning (16%, p = 0.009), vitality (22%, p = 0.002), and SF-36 total (10%, p = 0.024) as compared with preoperative measures. There were no significant differences at any time point between the 2 groups for the total SF-36 or for any of the 8 subscales.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients who underwent either an endoscopic or a microscopic approach experienced the greatest nasal symptoms at 2 weeks postoperatively and exhibited similar time courses of recovery in nasal, headache, and quality of life assessments. Although patients who underwent endoscopic surgery experienced significantly fewer nasal symptoms during the first 8 weeks, by 1 year after surgery, there were no significant differences between the 2 groups.