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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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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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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.

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Aaron E. Bond, John A. Jane Sr., Kenneth C. Liu and Edward H. Oldfield

OBJECT

The authors completed a prospective, institutional review board–approved study using intraoperative MRI (iMRI) in patients undergoing posterior fossa decompression (PFD) for Chiari I malformation. The purpose of the study was to examine the utility of iMRI in determining when an adequate decompression had been performed.

METHODS

Patients with symptomatic Chiari I malformations with imaging findings of obstruction of the CSF space at the foramen magnum, with or without syringomyelia, were considered candidates for surgery. All patients underwent complete T1, T2, and cine MRI studies in the supine position preoperatively as a baseline. After the patient was placed prone with the neck flexed in position for surgery, iMRI was performed. The patient then underwent a bone decompression of the foramen magnum and arch of C-1, and the MRI was repeated. If obstruction was still present, then in a stepwise fashion the patient underwent dural splitting, duraplasty, and coagulation of the tonsils, with an iMRI study performed after each step guiding the decision to proceed further.

RESULTS

Eighteen patients underwent PFD for Chiari I malformations between November 2011 and February 2013; 15 prone preincision iMRIs were performed. Fourteen of these patients (93%) demonstrated significant improvement of CSF flow through the foramen magnum dorsal to the tonsils with positioning only. This improvement was so notable that changes in CSF flow as a result of the bone decompression were difficult to discern.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors observed significant CSF flow changes when simply positioning the patient for surgery. These results put into question intraoperative flow assessments that suggest adequate decompression by PFD, whether by iMRI or intraoperative ultrasound. The use of intraoperative imaging during PFD for Chiari I malformation, whether by ultrasound or iMRI, is limited by CSF flow dynamics across the foramen magnum that change significantly when the patient is positioned for surgery.

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Mahmoud Messerer, Giulia Cossu, Roy Thomas Daniel and Emmanuel Jouanneau

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Lucia Schwyzer, Robert M. Starke, John A. Jane Jr. and Edward H. Oldfield

OBJECT

Correlation between tumor volume and hormone levels in individual patients would permit calculation of the fraction of tumor removed by surgery, by measuring postoperative hormone levels. The goals of this study were to examine the relationship between tumor volume, growth hormone (GH), and insulin-like growth factor–1 (IGF-1) levels, and to assess the correlation between percent tumor removal and the reduction in plasma GH and IGF-1 in patients with acromegaly.

METHODS

The 3D region of interest–based volumetric method was used to measure tumor volume via MRI before and after surgery in 11 patients with GH-secreting adenomas. The volume of residual tumor as a fraction of preoperative tumor volume was correlated with GH levels before and after surgery. Examination of this potential correlation required selection of patients with acromegaly who 1) had incomplete tumor removal, 2) had precise measurements of initial and residual tumor, and 3) were not on medical therapy.

RESULTS

Densely granulated tumors produced more peripheral GH per mass of tumor than sparsely granulated tumors (p = 0.04). There was a correlation between GH and IGF-1 levels (p = 0.001). Although there was no close correlation between tumor size and peripheral GH levels, after normalizing each tumor to its own plasma GH level and tumor volume, a comparison of percent tumor resection with percent drop in plasma GH yielded a high correlation coefficient (p = 0.006).

CONCLUSIONS

Densely granulated somatotropinomas produce more GH per mass of tumor than do sparsely granulated tumors. Each GH-secreting tumor has its own intrinsic level of GH production per mass of tumor, which is homogeneous over the tumor mass, and which varies greatly between tumors. In most patients the fraction of a GH-secreting tumor removed by surgery can be accurately estimated by simply comparing plasma GH levels after surgery to those before surgery.

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Robert Dallapiazza, Aaron E. Bond, Yuval Grober, Robert G. Louis, Spencer C. Payne, Edward H. Oldfield and John A. Jane Jr.

Object

The object of this study was to compare surgical outcomes and complications in a contemporaneous series of patients undergoing either microscopic or endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery for nonfunctioning pituitary macroadenomas without imaging evidence of cavernous sinus invasion.

Methods

This is a retrospective analysis of a prospectively collected database from a single institution. Data were collected from patients whose surgery had occurred in the period from June 2010 to January 2013. Patients who underwent microscopic or endoscopic surgery for Knosp Grade 0, 1, or 2 nonfunctioning pituitary macroadenomas were included in the study. Patients who had clinically secreting or Knosp Grade 3 or 4 tumors and patients who were undergoing revision surgery were excluded from analysis. Eligible patient records were analyzed for outcomes and complications. Statistical analyses were performed on tumor volume, intraoperative factors, postoperative complications, and degree of resection on 1-year postoperative MRI. The results were used to compare the outcomes after microscopic and endoscopic approaches.

Results

Forty-three patients underwent microscopic transsphenoidal surgery, and 56 underwent endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery. There were no statistical differences in the intraoperative extent of resection or endocrinological complications. There were significantly more intraoperative CSF leaks in the endoscopic group (58% vs 16%); however, there was no difference in the incidence of postoperative CSF rhinorrhea (12% microscopic vs 7% endoscopic). Length of hospitalization was significantly shorter in patients undergoing an endoscopic approach (3.0 days vs 2.4 days). Two-month follow-up imaging was available in 95% of patients, and 75% of patients had 1-year follow-up imaging. At 2 months postprocedure, there was no evidence of residual tumor in 79% (31 of 39) and 85% (47 of 55) of patients in the microscopic and endoscopic groups, respectively. At 1 year postprocedure, 83% (25 of 30) of patients in the microscopic group had no evidence of residual tumor and 82% (36 of 44) of those in the endoscopic group had no evidence of residual tumor.

Conclusions

The microscopic and endoscopic techniques provide similar outcomes in the surgical treatment of Knosp Grades 0–2 nonfunctioning pituitary macroadenomas.